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Teens With Lots of Friends More Likely to Start Drinking: Study

WEDNESDAY, Sept. 28 (HealthDay News) -- Adolescents with large social networks of friends and acquaintances are more likely to start drinking alcohol than teens who play a less central role in their high school social scene, new research finds.

The findings from the study of 2,610 U.S. students in grades 7 through 11 suggest that limiting the size of a teen's social network may help delay the start of drinking.

In addition, being close to more popular people increased the risk that an adolescent would start drinking, the researchers found.

The study is published in the September/October issue of the journal Academic Pediatrics.

The results show that parents have an important role to play, according to study author Marlon Mundt of the University of Wisconsin, Madison School of Medicine and Public Health.

"Parental modeling of responsible alcohol use and having fun together as a family offer protective benefit against adolescent alcohol initiation," Mundt explained in a journal news release. "The results are similar to previous research showing that low family bonding and parental drinking are linked to the onset of alcohol consumption."

More information

The U.S. National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism outlines how parents can prevent childhood alcohol use.

-- Robert Preidt

SOURCE: Academic Pediatrics, news release, Sept. 20, 2011

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