For Teen Boys, Heavy Drinking & Impulsivity May Be Vicious Circle
Parent's shouldn't really need more good reasons to promote alcohol awareness and prevention with their teens... but here's another one to add to the list.
Bouts of heavy drinking can increase male teens' levels of impulsive behavior over time, including their propensity for more heavy drinking, a new study finds.
The study included more than 500 boys in Pittsburgh who were assessed each year from first-grade until they were 20 years old, with another follow-up four to five years later.
When they were teens, boys with moderate levels of impulsive behavior showed a significant increase in impulsivity if they had engaged in heavy drinking the previous year, as opposed to those with low or high levels of impulsive behavior.
The findings were released online in advance of publication in the February print issue of the journal Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research.
"Heavy alcohol use in adolescence may lead to alterations in brain structure and function that reduce behavioral (impulse) control, which could, in turn, promote further heavy drinking," first author Helene R. White, professor of sociology at the Center of Alcohol Studies at Rutgers University, said in a news release from the journal's publisher.