-- Robert Preidt
THURSDAY, Aug. 8 (HealthDay News) -- Correcting disruptive
behavior in young children could help prevent them from using
alcohol and drugs when they're teens, researchers report.
Their study included 172 boys with disruptive behavior in
kindergarten who were divided into three groups. All of the boys
came from low-income families in Montreal.
One group of 46 boys took part in a two-year intervention
program when they were ages 7 to 9. The program included training
to help the boys learn self-control and reduce impulsive and
antisocial behavior. Their parents were taught to recognize problem
behaviors in their sons, set clear goals and reinforce appropriate
A second group of 84 boys were assigned to an intensive
observation group. They attended a half-day laboratory testing
session, were observed at school, and their families were visited
in their homes by researchers. A third group of 42 boys received no
intervention and acted as the control group.
All of the boys in the study were followed until age 17 in order
to assess their use of alcohol and drugs. The boys in the two-year
program had lower levels of drug and alcohol use from their early
teens until they completed high school than the boys in the other
two groups, according to the study in the Aug. 8 online edition of
British Journal of Psychiatry.
"Our study shows that a two-year intervention aimed at key risk factors in disruptive kindergarten boys from low socioeconomic environments can effectively reduce substance use behaviors in adolescence -- not only in early adolescence but up to the end of high school, eight years post-intervention," study author Natalie Castellanos-Ryan, of the University of Montreal, said in a university news release.
"This finding is noteworthy because the effects are stronger and longer-lasting than for most substance use interventions that have been studied before," she added.
The findings suggest "that by selectively targeting disruptive
behaviors in early childhood, and without addressing substance use
directly, we could have long-term effects on substance use
behaviors in later life," Castellanos-Ryan said.
"More research is now needed to examine how these effects can generalize to girls and other populations, and to explore aspects related to the cost/benefit of this type of intervention," she added.
The American Academy of Pediatrics explains how to
change your child's behavior.
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