Incidence of Alcohol Use
• In the 2000 U.S. Census showed that 42% of
youths aged 12 to 17 and 84% aged 18 to 25
have had a drink.
• In 2000, about 30 percent of high school seniors
and 15 percent of eight-graders reported at least
one episode of in the previous two weeks.
• Alcohol is a major factor in crime.
• After the Vietnam War, many states lowered the
drinking age to 18.
Why Teens Drink
• Physical changes
associated with puberty
increase a person’s
tolerance to alcohol
• Teens want to look more
mature and less like
• Cognitive views emerge
which allows teens to
think in more relative than
• Cognitive conceit makes teens likely
to question authority figures
• The personal fable makes teens feel
• Heightened inferential skills make
teens aware of adult hypocrisy
• The process of finding their identity
involves teens trying new experiences
• Adolescents have more freedom and
independence than children
• Adolescents spend more time with
their peers than they do with their
• Teenagers commonly
believe that the
drinking rate amongst
their age group is
higher than it really is
• Adolescents are
interested in romance
• Drinking is perceived
as a way to relax.
• Parents attitudes and beliefs about alcohol
affect adolescents’ drinking both at home
• A study of families determined to be at
high risk for alcoholism found that alcohol
expectancies of early adolescents were
closer to their parents than those from low
risk families who displayed significant
• Family plays a significant role.
• Parents who drink are more likely to have
adolescents who drink.
• Parents who don’t drink or disapprove are
more likely to have adolescents who don’t
• STAT: 1/3 of any sample of alcoholics at
least have one parent who was an
• Peer pressure is another cause of
• Why? Peer identification, sociability,
• Alcohol consumption tends to be an often
response to loneliness and anxiety.
• Another major reason: rebellion.
• Alienate themselves from their family and
• 12-14 year olds believe
that positive benefits are
more likely to occur than
• One study of 16-19 year
olds, the heavy drinkers
drank so much because
they wished to be
intoxicated, or they were
motivated to improve their
• Underage drinking substantially increases the risk of
developing an alcohol use disorder in adulthood
• Adolescents are more susceptible to negative cognitive
effects of alcohol than adults
• Research shows that drinking is associated with risk-
taking and sensation-seeking behavior, which can lead
to multiple consequences.
• Adolescents who use alcohol are more likely to become
sexually active at an earlier age, to have sex more often,
and to engage in un protected sex, which places them at
a higher risk of HIV infection and other STDs.
• Alcohol exposure during adolescence is linked with a
reduced ability to learn compared with those not
exposed until adulthood.
• People who begin to drink before 15 are 4 times more
likely to develop alcohol dependence than those who
wait until 21.
• In 1997, 21% of young drivers ages 15-20 who were
killed in car crashes were intoxicated.
• Approximately 240,000-360,000 of the nation’s 12 million
current undergraduates will ultimately die from alcohol
• According to the SAMHSA, 2.6 million young people do
NOT know that a person can die from an overdose of
• 95% of violent crimes on college campuses are alcohol
related and 90% of college rapes involve alcohol use by
either the victim and/or assailant.
• Impaired vision and
• Memory defects
• Permanent brain
• Respiratory depression or failure
• Lung abscesses
• Increased risk for mouth or throat cancers
• Elevated blood pressure and heart rate
• Heart failure
• Alcoholic fatty liver
• Most cell loss occurs the cortex of the
frontal lobe, the part of the brain involved
in higher order thinking, such as planning
and impulse control.
• Alcohol affects the hippocampus (a part of
the brain involved in learning, memory and
motivation) and the cerebellum (a part that
controls balance and coordination and
Short Term vs Long Term
• Blackouts • Impaired intellectual development
• Hangovers and academic performance
• Cognitive dysfunction • Alcohol dependence
• Impaired vision • Cirrhosis of liver
• Impaired motor coordination • Hemorrhagic stroke
• Sleep disturbance • Certain cancers: kidneys, mouth,
• Suicide attempts throat
• Risky sexual behavior • Major depression
• Risk for HIV infection/STDs • Memory defects
• Seizures • Permanent brain damage
• Apathy • Elevated blood pressure and heart
• Introversion/antisocial behavior • Risk of stroke
• Inability to concentrate • Heart failure
• MIP/DWI/DUI • Damage to GI tract
• Suppressed immune function
Drinking in Young Adulthood
• Many young adults binge
drink while in college.
• Out of 762 ethnically diverse
25% engaged in binge
– Compared to non-bingers and
abstainers, bingers had higher
rates of drinking related
UK Study of Undergraduates
• Heavy drinkers (50 units or more a
week for men, 35 or more for
women) scored higher than light
drinkers (8-20 a week for men, 5-
14 for women) on measures of:
– Tension reduction
– Sexual enhancement
– Dependency drinking issues
UK Study of Undergraduates
• Heavy drinkers saw more
benefits in drinking while light
drinkers saw more drawbacks.
• Top 3 Benefits found:
– Social Life
UK Study of Undergraduates
• Top 3 Drawbacks
– Physical wellbeing
– University Work
• Heavy drinkers main
concern was financial.
• Light drinkers main concern
was physical well being.
• Study of 265 first-year students:
– Perceived parent’s approval of
– 69% experienced at least 1 drinking
• Regretted sexual situations
• Arrested for drunk driving
• Over 1/3rd perceived their parents
would approve of them drinking
• After graduation, consumption
of alcohol greatly decreases
– Getting married
– Entering workforce
– Increased responsibility
– Less time socializing
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Approval of Drinking and Its Impact on Problem Drinking Behaviors Among First-Year
College Students." Journal of American College Health 54.
• Rice, F. Phillip, and Kim G. Dolgin. The Adolescent: Development, Relationships, and
Culture. 11th ed. Boston: Allyn and Baker, 2005. 451-456.
• “SAMHSA Consequences of Underage Alcohol Use." SAMHSA.
• Sieving, Renee E., Geoffrey Maruyama, Carolyn L. Williams, and Cheryl L. Perry.
"Pathways to Adolescent Alcohol Use: Potential Mechanisms of Parent Influences."
Journal of Research on Adolecence 10.4 (2000): 489-514.
• Stillwell, Paul. "Personal and Social Correlates of Alcohol Consumption Among Mid-
Adolescents." British Journal of Developmental Psychology 23 (2005): 427.
• Zeigler, D.W., C.C. Wang, and R.A. Yoast. "The Neurocognitive Effects of Alcohol on
Adolescent and College Students." Prev Med 40.1 (2005): 23-32.