Lee Rannals for redOrbit.com — Your Universe Online
Drinking alcohol at a younger age can lead to drinking more and stronger alcohol, as well as a risk of developing an addiction.
Researchers published a study in The Spanish Journal of Psychology that looked at the behaviors of young people who drink.
The scientists gathered data from 6,009 young people between the ages of 14 and 25, from 2007 to 2009, and in three Spanish cities.
“The general tendency is to think that university students drink more alcohol than teenagers as they are older and can access it more easily. But this is not true. Males in secondary school and university drink the same amount of alcohol while practicing botellÃ³n. The same is the case for females,” BegoÃ±a Espejo Tort, lead researcher of the study at the University of Valencia, said in a statement.
They found that males drink more and aim to get drunk; yet they associate their alcohol intake with the possibility of developing an addiction to a lesser extent than females.
“We have observed that university students progressed to drink more alcohol. When they were adolescents they drank less alcohol and then more when reaching university. Nonetheless, today’s adolescents drink the same amount as university students,” Espejo said in the statement.
If intake levels for high school and university students of the same sex are similar, this means when secondary school students reach the age of 20, the consequences would be greater than those seen in current university students.
“Nearly all adolescents who consumed alcohol started at around 13 or 14 years of age by drinking distilled alcohol (drinks with high alcohol content) in large quantities. On the other hand, university students started between 14 and 15 with fermented drinks like beer in relatively low quantities,” Espejo said in the statement.
They found the students only take into account consequences like drunk driving, or vomiting, dizziness, and hangovers.
The researchers said youngsters feel drinking alcohol will have no negative consequences unless they increase their consumption.
The study authors warn there is a need to take action amongst these groups to reduce and change alcohol consumption. They said campaigns on self-esteem and interpersonal relationship management should be reinforced.