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Study Shows Link Between Alcohol Use And Psychosocial Problems In Teens

Aggressive teens are more likely to abuse alcohol than their peers.

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By John Lavitt

09/04/14

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A new Finnish study has revealed that aggressive teens are more likely to abuse alcohol than their peers. Published in Journal of Adolescence, the study was carried out in cooperation between the University of Eastern Finland, Kuopio University Hospital, the University of Tampere, and Päijät-Häme Central Hospital.

Researchers assessed the link between psychosocial problems and drinking among 4,074 Finnish youngsters aged between 13 and 18. Sixty percent of the teenage participants drank alcohol at some point during the study. Incredibly, 50% of the 15 year olds in the study abused alcohol. Another intriguing result was that no significant differences between alcohol use among boys and girls were found.

Alcohol use is common among teenagers, but the direct association between such use, and behavioral and emotional problems is not well understood. In a further finding, the Finnish research team noted that teen smoking and attention seeking disorders also appear to be heightened by and linked to alcohol use. Among the female subjects of the study, early onset of menstrual cycles and parental divorce increased the risk of alcohol abuse.

Eila Laukkanen, Professor and Chief Physician of Adolescent Psychiatry at the University of Eastern Finland and Kuopio University Hospital, expressed her concerns in a press release. "The findings raise questions about a possible change in the behavior of adolescent girls and their vulnerability during adolescent social and emotional development," Laukkanen said.

Surprisingly, researchers found that depression and anxiety in teens did not necessarily correlate with alcohol usage. In addition, the proportion of youngsters who consumed alcohol did not increase compared to previous studies done by other researchers in Finland, but the amounts of alcohol consumed while drinking did increase, sometimes even exceeding the risk levels.

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