Teen Aggression Linked to Drinking

A new Finnish study discovers that aggressive adolescents are more likely to drink, and drink more, than their peers.

Researchers also found, surprisingly, that depression and anxiety were not linked to increased alcohol use.

Investigators explored the relationship between psychosocial problems and alcohol use among 4074 Finnish 13- to 18-year-old adolescents. Smoking and attention problems also appeared to increase the probability of alcohol use.

Furthermore, among girls, early menarche and parental divorce were also associated with alcohol use.

Another surprise finding was the discovery that aggressive behavior was more common in girls than in boys.

“The findings raise questions about a possible change in the behavior of adolescent girls and their vulnerability during adolescent social and emotional development,” said Dr. Eila Laukkanen of the University of Eastern Finland and Kuopio University Hospital.

Out of all the study participants, 60 percent reported alcohol use. Already among 15-year-olds, more than 50 percent reported to use alcohol. No significant differences between the alcohol use of boys and girls were found.

The proportion of adolescents who use alcohol has not grown in comparison to earlier studies; however, many adolescents consume high amounts of alcohol — and even amounts that exceed the risk levels.

Alcohol use that begins early in adolescence can increase the probability of mental health problems and alcohol dependence, and be detrimental to brain development.

Source: University of Eastern Finland

Teenage violence and alcohol photo by shutterstock.