Unsupervised Teens More Likely to Smoke and Drink Over Those with Activities

Wilmington, NC Drug RehabIf your teen spends a lot of time hanging out without supervision, he or she could be more likely to smoke, drink or try marijuana, according to a recent study. If you need incredibly dependable and affordable Wilmington, NC drug rehab or alcohol treatment, please call Legacy Freedom today!

Unsupervised Teens, Drinking and Smoking

Researchers at the University of California analyzed results from the data collected by the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development. The original study focused on 766 teenagers from 10 cities across the U.S. They talked to them at the age of 15, then again at the end of high school.

They learned that teens who don’t participate in sports or other after school activities such as a part-time job or other hobby, may be more likely to smoke cigarettes or pot, or drink alcohol.

The authors of the study, who specialize in education research, wanted to take a different approach to uncovering connections between teenagers’ habits and use of substances.

They thought that looking at their lives outside of school could help them draw new conclusions. Much of the past research focused on how certain activities, such as participation in sports, could deter teens from smoking or drinking.

Deborah Lowe Vandell, one of the researchers, told Reuters in an email, “We thought it would be interesting to identify when, where and with whom adolescents are partaking of substance use. We thought the best way to do this would be to look at various contexts, especially in the out-of-school time environment.”

The study found that teens who spent time with their friends unsupervised were more likely to try one of the substances. Of those teens, 39 percent were likely to smoke cigarettes, 47 percent may drink and 71 percent may try marijuana.

They also found that teens involved in sports were 19 percent more likely to drink but less likely to smoke marijuana. Teens with part-time jobs were 46 percent more likely to smoke and 28 percent more likely to drink rather than use marijuana.

The low numbers of marijuana use could be because of the drug tests and screenings required of some sports activities and jobs, although the study did not research that aspect.

Teens who were involved in activities with structured schedules, such as sports, church functions or volunteer work, had a 7 to 18 percent lower risk of trying alcohol, cigarettes or marijuana.

Researchers noted that the results can’t prove a cause and effect, but the findings can make parents aware of the possibility.

They also noted that other factors can determine if a teen will smoke cigarettes or marijuana or drink, such as their environment and peer pressure. If they have friends who don’t use the substances, they are less likely to, even if they spend a lot of time with them unsupervised.

Another factor that could play a part in a teen’s interest in smoking or drinking is seeing their parents or family members do it.

A professor at the University of Colorado, who wasn’t involved in the study, noted that seeing parents do these things in the home could influence their children’s attitudes and behaviors.

It’s important to talk to children early about the dangers of tobacco, marijuana and alcohol, and watch for warning signs that they may be experimenting.

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