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Monday, July 15, 2013

Child Personality Traits May Lead to Drinking

The way in which a child acts before age 5 may be an indication as to whether or not they will use alcohol in adolescence, a new study suggests. 

12,600 children were followed from the time they were born by researchers in a new study. The children’s parents were asked about their personalities in the first five years of life; then researchers interviewed both the children and their parents, Fox News reports. By age 15 ½, 4,600 teens were still participating in the study.

They found that emotional instability and relatively low sociability, and high sociability, may lead to “sensation seeking” later in life. 

 “This underscores the fact that drinking during adolescence is largely a social phenomenon,” study co-author Danielle Dick of Virginia Commonwealth University said in a journal news release. “However, this doesn’t mean it’s less problematic; we know from other studies that most adolescent drinking is high risk — for example, binge drinking — and can lead to numerous negative consequences.”

The author goes on to say, “People don’t enter adolescence as blank slates; they have a history of life experiences that they bring with them, dating back to early childhood. This is one of the most comprehensive attempts to understand very early childhood predictors of adolescent alcohol use in a large epidemiological cohort.” She noted the study indicates that troubled children are not the only ones who start to use alcohol. “It’s also the highly sociable kids as well. Parents should be aware of this.”

The study can be found in the journal Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research.

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