Quantcast

Study: Which teens will become binge drinkers? - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

Study: Which teens will become binge drinkers?

Posted: Updated:
BURLINGTON, Vt. -

It's a study aimed at stopping the problem before it starts.

"The idea was to recruit a sizable number of 14-year-olds, which is an age before they've starting using drugs and alcohol to a heavy extent, and then follow those kids," said Hugh Garavan, an associate professor of psychiatry at the University of Vermont.

That group of 2,400 kids were then put through a series of assessments-- everything from personality traits and IQ to family history, blood tests and brain scans-- to help scientists figure out what kinds of risks these kids face that could result in drug and alcohol use, and even mental illness.

"We wanted to identify kids who had had very little alcohol exposure by age 14. So all the kids who had 0 or 1, 2 drinks in their lifetime and then 2 years later which ones had history of binge drinking by 16 and then another group who stayed the same," Garavan said.

The team has been following the group of teenagers for five years and says the assessments were 70 percent accurate in determining who was likely to binge drink. The idea of just how predictable drinking habits can be among teens when considering certain factors is a scary reality for some. So far, they've concluded genetics, family history, home environment and cognitive abilities all play a role.

"I myself would say whether it's nature or nurture, certainly culture is something that can also have a very pernicious effect," said Dennis Mahoney, a professor of German at UVM.

"If you have parents or family members that have a problem with alcohol addiction, then you may be more prone to try it out and you may be more likely to get addicted sooner than other people," said Kayla Rideout, a junior at Essex High School.

The teens are all now 19. Once they're 23, Garavan's team will collect their last set of data. This will help provide a core profile of what traits make a teen likely to begin binge drinking at a young age and continue throughout adolescence. The next step will be to figure out how to stop the cycle. That's where, Garavan says, interventions tailored to each teen's needs come in.

"They're very effective in reducing alcohol and drug use; they're very effective in delaying alcohol and drug use, which is also a very important outcome," Garavan said.

Garavan says it's the only study of its kind, using about 40 different variables to conclude the cause of binge drinking, but it has the potential to help many tackle alcohol and drug abuse.

The study was published in the journal Nature.

  • Local NewsMore>>

  • New fundraising numbers in the race for Vt. Governor

    New fundraising numbers in the race for Vt. Governor

    Tuesday, September 2 2014 11:03 PM EDT2014-09-03 03:03:04 GMT
    Fundraising numbers are in from the candidates running for Vermont's top public office. Governor Peter Shumlin continues to out-raise his Republican opponent Scott Milne. Since August 15th, Governor Shumlin running for his third term in office has added 34 thousand dollars to his war chest. He's now raised over 600 thousand dollars this campaign. Scott Milne raised just 10 thousand dollars bringing his total to 53,000. The Milne campaign has now spent 8 thousand more dollars than it has broug...
    Fundraising numbers are in from the candidates running for Vermont's top public office. Governor Peter Shumlin continues to out-raise his Republican opponent Scott Milne. Since August 15th, Governor Shumlin running for his third term in office has added 34 thousand dollars to his war chest. He's now raised over 600 thousand dollars this campaign. Scott Milne raised just 10 thousand dollars bringing his total to 53,000. The Milne campaign has now spent 8 thousand more dollars than it has broug...
  • Mechanic accused of illegal car inspection ring

    Mechanic accused of illegal car inspection ring

    Tuesday, September 2 2014 11:03 PM EDT2014-09-03 03:03:01 GMT
    A Springfield mechanic is accused of operating an illegal car inspection sticker ring. 29 year old Benjamin Millay allegedly stole around 30 inspection stickers from his former employer the Springfield Auto Mart and sold them on the side to cars that otherwise would not have passed inspection. Tuesday he pleaded not guilty to a single count of embezzlement. After providing police with a written confession Millay was released to await trail. Vermont inspectors are now working to track down tho...
    A Springfield mechanic is accused of operating an illegal car inspection sticker ring. 29 year old Benjamin Millay allegedly stole around 30 inspection stickers from his former employer the Springfield Auto Mart and sold them on the side to cars that otherwise would not have passed inspection. Tuesday he pleaded not guilty to a single count of embezzlement. After providing police with a written confession Millay was released to await trail. Vermont inspectors are now working to track down tho...
  • Arson investigation underway for Dummerston church

    Arson investigation underway for Dummerston church

    Tuesday, September 2 2014 11:02 PM EDT2014-09-03 03:02:53 GMT
    An arson investigation is underway at a church in Dummerston.
    An arson investigation is underway at a church in Dummerston.
  • Autopsy confirms gender of body found in Massena

    Autopsy confirms gender of body found in Massena

    Tuesday, September 2 2014 11:02 PM EDT2014-09-03 03:02:57 GMT
    New information about a dead body discovered in Massena last week.
    New information about a dead body discovered in Massena last week.
  • Former CVU english teacher dies in Hawaii

    Former CVU english teacher dies in Hawaii

    Tuesday, September 2 2014 10:02 PM EDT2014-09-03 02:02:12 GMT
    A former Champlain Valley Union High School english teacher has died in Hawaii.
    A former Champlain Valley Union High School english teacher has died in Hawaii.
  • ISIS claims it beheaded another US journalist

    ISIS claims it beheaded another US journalist

    Tuesday, September 2 2014 7:24 PM EDT2014-09-02 23:24:15 GMT
    ISIS claims it has beheaded another United States journalist with ties to our region.
    ISIS claims it has beheaded another United States journalist with ties to our region.
  • 2nd trial begins for Vt. prison guard

    2nd trial begins for Vt. prison guard

    Tuesday, September 2 2014 12:25 PM EDT2014-09-02 16:25:40 GMT
    A prison guard accused of sexually assaulting a female inmate was back in court Tuesday.
    A prison guard accused of sexually assaulting a female inmate was back in court Tuesday.
  • Bicyclist dies after injury in Waterbury

    Bicyclist dies after injury in Waterbury

    Tuesday, September 2 2014 6:24 PM EDT2014-09-02 22:24:11 GMT
    A bicyclist has died after being injured in Waterbury.
    A bicyclist has died after being injured in Waterbury.
Powered by WorldNow
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 WorldNow and WCAX. All Rights Reserved. For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.