February 14, 2011

Heavy Drinking: A Danger to Teens?

(Ivanhoe Newswire) -- A new report reveals drinking during one's teen years can lead to long- and short-term consequences. However, the researchers say there needs to be more investigation in this area to confirm this link.

Authors conducted a comprehensive literature review to identify 54 studies that included at least one quantitative measure of the effects of alcohol on outcomes in adulthood such as death, alcohol dependence, criminal offenses, mental health, educational attainment, and smoking.

The investigators found that although there is evidence that consuming alcohol in higher amounts in late adolescence continues into adulthood and is linked to other problems, most of the studies could not strongly support a direct causal relationship because of their weak designs.

"It is clear that the evidence based on long-term consequences is not as extensive nor as compelling as it could be," the authors were quoted as saying."Late adolescent alcohol consumption appears a probable cause of increased drinking well into adulthood, through to ages at which adult social roles have been achieved."

However, they caution: "Heavier drinking seems most likely, however, to be only one component in a complex causal process, whose contribution has probably been overestimated in previous studies because of uncontrolled confounding, setting aside the uncertainties induced by self-reported data."

SOURCE: PLos Medicine, Feb. 2011