Adolescent’s drinking habits most impacted by romantic partner’s pals’ binges

Washington: A new study has revealed that an adolescent’s future drinking habits are more affected by the drinking habits of a romantic partner’s friends, than the behaviours of the adolescent’s own friends or a significant other.

"Dating someone whose friends are big drinkers is more likely to cause an adolescent to engage in dangerous drinking behaviors than are the drinking habits of the adolescent’s own friends or romantic partner,” said Derek Kreager, lead author of the study and an associate professor of crime, law, and justice at Pennsylvania State University.

“This applies to both binge drinking and drinking frequency,” he added.

The study found that the odds of an adolescent binge drinking if his or her partner’s friends engage in heavy drinking is more than twice as high as the likelihood of an adolescent binge drinking if his or her friends or significant other drink heavily.

The researchers considered responses from 449 couples (898 students) in 1994, when they were not together yet, and in 1996, after they had become a couple.

The results showed that the peer contexts of dating expose adolescents to new opportunities and norms that influence their own drinking behavior, while also increasing opposite-gender friendship ties and expanding early adolescent mixed-gender peer groups.


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