Lone Teen Drinkers More Likely to Develop Alcohol Problems

Updated at: Nov 20, 2013
Lone Teen Drinkers More Likely to Develop Alcohol Problems

Teens who drink alone have more alcohol problems and are heavier drinkers than their peers who drink only in social settings, a new study has found.

Agency News
LatestWritten by: Agency NewsPublished at: Nov 20, 2013

Teens, who consume alcohol, must do it with friends and not alone- a new study has warned. Lone drinkers are prone to heavy drinking and other alcohol problems as compared to their peers who drink only in social gatherings.

alcohol related problemsResearchers at Carnegie Mellon University and the University of Pittsburgh found that a significant number of teens drink while they are alone and they are more likely to drink in response to negative emotions. As a result, such solitary teen drinkers are more likely to develop alcohol use disorder in early childhood.

"We're learning that kids who drink alone tend to do so because they're feeling lonely, are in a bad mood, or had an argument with a friend," said lead author Kasey Creswell, assistant professor of psychology in CMU's Dietrich College of Humanities and Social Sciences.

"They seem to be using alcohol to self-medicate as a way to cope with negative emotions and, importantly, this pattern of drinking places them at high risk to escalate their alcohol use and develop alcohol problems in adulthood," Creswell said.

The study is first of its kind to determine whether drinking alone during teenage impacted the development of alcohol use disorder as young adults, after controlling of other known risk factors.38.8 per cent of teens in the sample reported drinking alone during ages 12-18.

Unpleasant emotions were linked to this behaviour and such teens were one and a half times more likely to develop alcohol dependence at age 25. The study will appear in the journal Clinical Psychological Science.


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