Monday, March 26, 2012
The pre-teenage years can be very difficult for a lot of people due to the vast changes going on in the mind and body. A new report has shown that middle school students who receive emotional support from the teachers will be less likely to engage in early use of drugs and alcohol.
521 middle school students in Seattle took part in the new study. Teacher support could be anything from feeling close to a teacher, or just being able to talk about their problems. Middle school students who had higher levels of separation anxiety from their parents were also less likely to start using alcohol early, the study found.
“Our results were surprising,” lead researcher Dr. Carolyn McCarty, of Seattle Children’s Research Institute, said in a news release. “We have known that middle school teachers are important in the lives of young people, but this is the first data-driven study which shows that teacher support is associated with lower levels of early alcohol use.”
Dr. McCarty believes that students who have separation anxiety may be less susceptible to negative influences from their peers, which could drive them to engage with drugs and alcohol.
“We need to be aware of and monitor early adolescent stress levels, and parents, teachers and adults need to tune into kids’ mental health,” Dr. McCarty said. “We know that youth who initiate substance abuse before age 14 are at a high risk of long-term substance abuse problems and myriad health complications.”
The study appears in Psychology of Addictive Behaviors.