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Community support may trump risk factors for teen drinking

Given that the vast majority of teen-oriented movies and TV shows feature scenes of underage drinking, there is no denying that this habit is widespread and even glorified across the country. But, while at times it may seem that there is nothing you can do to keep teenagers from adopting this habit, a new study may be a source of hope.

According to academics from the Prevention Research Center for the Promotion of Human Development at Pennsylvania State University, teenagers who are a part of loving, supportive and protective community are much less likely to start abusing alcohol. A press release from Science Daily explains that the researchers reviewed details that were collected regarding 200,000 minors in 8th and 10th grade to try and establish a pattern between their social surroundings and substance abuse.

“If we’re talking about teenagers and their initiation of substance use, we want to know which kids are most likely to start using drugs, drinking alcohol or binge drinking,” said professor Mark Feinberg. “If we can understand which […] factors are the most important predictors, we can target our prevention resources in a more effective way.”

While teens who were members of tight-knit communities are statistically more likely to turn to substance abuse, those who gravitate toward antisocial individuals were more likely to do so. However, even that risk was lessened if participants noted that they had “positive experiences in the community at large,” the source notes.

But, as effective as protection and support may be as a deterrent to substance abuse, they are all the more important if your teen has already succumbed to such an addiction. If your child is battling alcoholism, a professional interventionist can help you stage an alcohol intervention.

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