-- Mary Elizabeth Dallas
TUESDAY, May 8 (HealthDay News) -- Everyone knows teen behavior
is highly influenced by their friends, but a new study finds even a
friend's parents can influence whether or not a teen drinks alcohol
or uses drugs.
If the parents of your teen's friends are unaware of their
child's drug or alcohol use, or worse, condone it, that may make
your child more likely to partake as well, the study found.
"Among friendship groups with 'good parents' there's a synergistic effect -- if your parents are consistent and aware of your whereabouts, and your friends' parents are also consistent and aware of their (children's) whereabouts, then you are less likely to use substances," study author Michael Cleveland, research assistant professor at Penn State University, said in a university news release. "But if you belong to a friendship group whose parents are inconsistent, and your parents are consistent, you're still more likely to use alcohol."
The study is published in the May issue of the
Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs.
Researchers surveyed about 9,000 ninth-graders from rural school
districts about their closest friends, their parents' discipline
and if their parents knew who their friends were. After questioning
the teens, the researchers identified nearly 900 different groups
of friends, each made up of about 10 to 11 teenagers. One year
later, the teens were surveyed again about their use of alcohol,
cigarettes and marijuana.
Teens whose parents were consistent in their discipline and
generally knew what their children were up to were less likely to
use drugs or alcohol. However, even if parents were consistent and
aware of their teen's activities, some of that protection was
erased if their friends' parents were more lenient or clueless.
"The peer context is a very powerful influence. We've found in other studies that the peer aspect can overwhelm your upbringing," Cleveland said.
The American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry has
teen substance abuse.
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.
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