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Zero tolerance alcohol policy good choice for parents
Date:6/10/2009

Restaurants in Germany legally sell alcohol to teenagers after their sixteenth birthdays and French children drink wine with dinner at an early age, but U.S. parents who follow this relaxed European example, believing it fosters a healthier attitude toward alcohol, should be careful -- it may increase the likelihood that their children binge drink in college.

Research conducted by Caitlin Abar, graduate student, human development and family studies and member of Penn State's Prevention Research and Methodology Centers suggested that parents practice a zero-tolerance policy in the home and said that there is no scientific basis to the common belief that prohibiting alcohol turns it into a "forbidden fruit" and encourages abuse. She presented her results at the 2009 meeting of the Society for Prevention Research, Washington, D.C. and they appear in the current issue of Addictive Behaviors.

In 31 states, parents can legally serve alcohol to their underage children. Though U.S. teenagers drink less often than adults, they tend to drink more at a time -- on average, five drinks in a sitting -- according to Ralph Hingson of the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism. About 87 percent of college students try alcohol, and 40 percent say that they regularly engage in some type of binge drinking.

To see if parents permitting underage alcohol use might be an underlying cause of binge drinking, Abar surveyed almost 300 college freshmen and related their drinking habits to their parents' modeling and permissibility of alcohol use. Those students whose parents did not permit them to drink underage -- about half of the group -- were significantly less likely to drink heavily in college, regardless of gender. Moreover, "the greater number of drinks that a parent had set as a limit for the teens, the more often they drank and got drunk in college," said Abar. Whether the parents themselves drank, on the other hand, appeared to have little effe
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Contact: A'ndrea Elyse Messer
aem1@psu.edu
814-865-9481
Penn State
Source:Eurekalert

Page: 1 2

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