A new research has found that introducing a child to alcohol earlier in life may increase the likelihood that he or she binge drink in college.
Researcher Caitlin Abar of the Prevention Research and Methodology Center at Pennsylvania State University suggested that parents enforce a zero-tolerance policy in the home.
She also said that there is no scientific evidence to support the belief that prohibiting alcohol turns it into a "forbidden fruit" and encourages abuse.
In an effort to see whether the prohibition of alcohol by parents might be a cause of binge drinking, Abar surveyed almost 300 college freshmen and compared their drinking habits to their parents' attitudes toward alcohol. The students whose parents never allowed them to drink-about 50 percent of the group-were significantly less likely to binge drink in college, regardless of gender
Moreover, "the greater number of drinks that a parent had set as a limit for the teens, the more often they drank and got drunk in college," said Abar.
Whether the parents themselves drank, on the other hand, appeared to have little effect on predicting their children's behaviours when accounting for the permissibility they exhibited toward teen alcohol use.
Abar said that further research is needed to confirm the preliminary study.
The study was presented at the 2009 meeting of the Society for Prevention Research, Washington, D.C. and they appear in the current issue of Addictive Behaviours.