Underage drinking among close friends high indicator of futurealcohol use by black teens

Research led by University of Southern California (USC) professorMary Ann Pentz, Ph.D., shows that black middle school studentswhose close friends drink alcohol are more likely to drink alcoholin high school than their white classmates. The study, which appears in the September-October 2011 issue of thejournal Alcohol and Alcoholism, identifies a group at high risk for alcohol use that may benefitfrom special prevention programs. “As you age, both the perception of alcohol use and actual useincrease,” said Pentz, professor of preventive medicine at the KeckSchool of Medicine of USC and director of the school’s Institutefor Health Promotion and Disease Prevention Research. “But what wefound was that black students’ perception of their close friendsusing alcohol was a stronger indicator of their use than amongwhite students. We think the reason is that it is so unusual forblack students to be using alcohol at that age.” The study confirms previous research that, overall, black studentsare less likely to drink alcohol and consume less alcohol thantheir white counterparts. Heavy Duty Truck Diagnostic Scanner

Black students reported fewer closefriends who drank alcohol during the seventh grade and gained fewersuch friends in middle school than white students. However, theblack students who reported having close friends who drank alcoholin the seventh grade were significantly more likely to use alcoholin high school than white students who reported the same. The results help guide the design and implementation of drug andalcohol prevention programs. “Black adolescents may be on a delayed path to alcohol use relativeto white adolescents. So, in addition to middle school, it mightbenefit black students to be exposed to prevention programs laterin high school when peer influences are increasing,” Pentz said. Universal Car Diagnostic Scanner

Researchers analyzed data from 680 adolescents who participated inProject STAR (Students Taught Awareness and Resistance) of theMidwestern Prevention Project, one of the longest running drugprevention studies in the United States. Pentz was the principalinvestigator of that study, which she and colleagues started in theKansas City metro area in 1984. Students were asked to indicate thepercentage of their peers that they believed were drinking alcoholand the number of close friends who drank alcohol. They were alsoasked how many alcoholic drinks they had consumed in the pastmonth. The students’ answers from the seventh and eighth gradeswere compared to their answers during high school. Honda Car Keys Manufacturer

Pentz suggests future research on whether socioeconomic andcultural aspects influence underage drinking more than race. “We need to start looking at other environmental and structuralfactors that drive risk,” she said. “Maybe it’s the ecologicallevels of influence that are driving this, not race.” Additional References Citations.

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