FRIDAY, March 29 (HealthDay News) -- Parents who want to help their teens better navigate the world of college drinking might consider a pre-college chat on the topic. New research suggests it will help douse their desire to imbibe when they hit campus.
"The research shows parents do influence a teen's decisions about drinking, even at this age," said study co-author Michael Cleveland, a research assistant professor at the Prevention Research Center at Pennsylvania State University.
The scientists recruited 1,900 soon-to-be college freshmen to participate in questionnaires about their drinking habits. The teens, who were planning to attend a large northeastern university, were asked about their high school drinking habits and were then categorized as either nondrinkers, weekend light drinkers, weekend heavy drinkers and heavy drinkers (which included drinking on weekdays and weekends).
Their parents were mailed a 22-page handbook that included general information about college student drinking, how to communicate effectively, advice on how to help teens be assertive and resist peer pressure, and detailed information on the physical effects of alcoholic beverages on the body.
Parents were asked to read the handbook and then talk with their teen about the contents at one of three randomly assigned times, either during the summer before college, during the fall semester of the first year of college, or during the summer before college and again during the fall semester freshman year.
The handbook was created by study author Robert Turrisi, a professor of biobehavioral health at Penn State. He and his colleagues hoped their research would help identify the best time to talk with a teen about college drinking, and whether chatting more than once is more effective than a one-time talk.
The findings, reported in a recent issue of t
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