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Teen's Drinking Swayed by Dating Partner's Friends

Teens are more influenced by the drinking habits of their romantic partners' friends than they are by the habits of their own friends or romantic partners, a new study finds. For example, the odds that an adolescent will binge drink are more than doubled if her partner's friends drink heavily compared with if her own friends are heavy drinkers, the researchers said.

"The friends of a partner are likely to be very different from the adolescent and his or her friends, and they might also be, at least a little, different from the partner," said study researcher Derek Kreager, an associate professor of crime, law and justice at Pennsylvania State University. Adolescents are motivated to be more like their partner's friends in an effort to strengthen their relationship with their partner."

The influence is not always negative. "If an adolescent is a drinker and he or she starts going out with someone whose friends predominately don't drink, you would find the same effect but in the opposite direction," Kreager said.

Source: My Health News Daily