Teenagers drinking.

When Parents Drink, Kids Do Too

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Did you ever wonder about the relationship between parents using alcohol and other substances, and the use of these substances by their children? Logic says that they ought to be connected, but what does research say? Teenagers drinking.

In the mid 1990’s, research was conducted on substance use in Christian high schools. Students were asked if they had ever used drugs of several varieties. The questionnaire also asked whether they had a parent who used alcohol, tobacco or marijuana.

The results showed that when at least one parent used alcohol, tobacco or marijuana, the students were two to three times more likely to use all substances (including alcohol, tobacco, marijuana, cocaine and other hard drugs). What’s more, when the parents used a substance the students were also more likely to engage in sexual behaviors as adolescents.

This research went on to compare the use of substances by those attending this Christian schools to students who attended public schools. The findings revealed that students from the Christian schools were two to three times less likely to use all substances compared to those attending public schools.

Parents beware: your behavior choices are reflected in your kids. When you engage in substance use your kids are at higher risk. Further, this study reported that enrolling kids in Christian schools decreases their risk of engaging in dangerous behaviors.

Author

Gary L. Hopkins, MD, DrPH, MPH is currently an associate research professor at Andrews University in Berrien Springs, Michigan where he is also associate director of the Institute for Prevention of Addictions, Director of the Center for Prevention Research and Director of the Center for Media Impact Research.