Early alcohol abuse prevention program for kids between 8 and 12 years of age may prove beneficial in the long run especially as many young users are taking to the spirits in a big way, a new study has revealed.
The study was conducted on six grade students across a metropolitan area, for determining the factors that distinguished young alcohol users from nonusers, including even their stated intentions regarding future alcohol use.
The researchers knew that early alcohol use can affect development during a crucial time in life and can cause significant problems later.
Thus, they assessed a number of current teen alcohol abuse prevention programs, and came to the conclusion that earlier intervention is equally imperative.
For the study, the investigators took into account both positive and negative influences affecting early drinking, including things like, parental influences, including communication, monitoring, and expectations.
They also considered peer influences, peers' actual alcohol use and kids' perceptions of peer use. In addition, they looked into factors like environment, access to alcohol, owning and wearing alcohol-related items.
Also, they took into consideration, kids' involvement in sports, religious and other extra-curricular activities including the use of other substances, like tobacco and marijuana.
"Early users of alcohol are already at very high risk and earlier intervention is critical to alter risk factors while students are in their tweens," wrote the authors.
They added: "Although some research has been done in the primary prevention of developmental problems with tweens, the data suggests that a specific focus on particular alcohol-related risk factors is also needed to affect those at highest risk for teen alcohol use."
The research is published by SAGE in Health, Education and Behaviour.