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Parents important for keeping adolescents off alcohol
Date:3/7/2011

Parents who are both present and engaged are the very best way of preventing teenagers from consuming large quantities of alcohol. Adolescents who smoke, stay out with their friends and have access to alcohol from their parents, for example when they are as young as 13 are at greater risk of becoming binge drinkers in their late teens, reveals a new thesis from Karolinska Institutet in Sweden.

"Initiatives that focus on strengthening the parent-child relationship and limiting parental provision of alcohol can prove effective in limiting risky consumption among adolescents," says Anna-Karin Danielsson from the Department of Public Health Sciences. "Parents also play an important role when it comes to teaching young people how to resist peer pressure to drink."

In her thesis, Danielsson monitored 1,200 pupils from the age of 13 to the age of 19 between 2001 and 2006, and investigated which factors can reduce the risk of high alcohol consumption (protective factors) and which constitute risk factors. The results show that adolescents exhibiting risky behaviour in their early teens need help quickly as they are at greater risk of high consumption in the future, and of associated problems with their health, school, parents and friends, for example. This is where parental input can make all the difference.

"But boys and girls are slightly different," says Anna-Karin Danielsson. "The risk of high alcohol consumption among boys who smoke and who have friends who drink is considerably reduced when parents keep an eye on what teenagers get up to, and with whom. Whereas girls in the risk zone benefit most from an emotionally stable and close parent-child relationship in terms of protective effect."

The thesis also examines alcohol consumption and alcohol-related problems among youngsters in 23 European countries. It is clear that the Nordic countries and the UK differ from the other European countries in that it is as common for girls
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Contact: Press Officer Katarina Sternudd
katarina.sternudd@ki.se
46-852-483-895
Karolinska Institutet
Source:Eurekalert

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