Drinking alcohol with parents does not protect teenagers from engaging in risky drinking behaviour, a new study by the National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre at UNSW has found.
The study, published this week in the journal BMC Public Health, regularly asked almost 2,000 teenagers about their drinking patterns and history of drinking in a family context over three years, and found that drinking with family in early adolescence actually increased the likelihood of later risky drinking.
Almost half (44%) of participants reported risky drinking in the past week during at least one stage of the study, and 15% reported drinking with their family on more than three occasions. Drinking repeatedly with family between the ages of 14 and 17 was associated with an increased risk of risky drinking in later adolescence.
Leader of the study Professor Louisa Degenhardt said while it is a common perception that early introduction to responsible drinking may prevent risky drinking behaviour, the study results suggest otherwise.
“Parents who wish to reduce their children’s alcohol use may be better advised to try and limit their opportunities to drink,” said Professor Degenhardt.