People who start drinking early on in life have high chances of developing heavy drinking and alcohol dependence later on in life, according to a new study conducted by a group of researchers from Pacific Institute for Research and Evaluation in the US. When looking at the correlation with between young-age alcoholism and alcohol dependency, and the contexts of first intoxication, the researchers looked at cases of alcoholism in teenagers younger than 15 years of age. The results of the study were published in the journalSubstance Use & Misuse and the study was conducted among 405 American adolescents, between the ages of 15 and 18.
About one-third of the subjects had experienced intoxication by the age of 15 and another one-third experienced it after the age of 15. The rest of the participants were found to have experimented with alcohol, but not to the extent of intoxication. The researchers said that drinkers most often drank at home, followed by outdoor settings and finally, in places like bars, restaurants and night clubs. They observed that early intoxication had a strong link with drinking in outdoor settings, but not with drinking at home. The researchers concluded that when it came to alcohol initiation, the context of the first intoxication mattered. The study can be potentially used to develop preventive intervention strategies specific to certain contexts, according to Lipperman-Kreda, a researcher from the varsity.
The study that was titled, “Associations of Early Age of First Intoxication with Past Year Drinking Contexts and Problems”, concluded by saying, “Results suggest that underage drinkers who report early intoxication are more likely to drink at outdoor settings, but not other contexts.” It further said: “However, they may differentially experience drinking problems across contexts. To target youths who have experienced intoxication at an early age and to reduce problems, prevention interventions should focus on outdoor settings.”