About Careers MedBlog Contact us

Adolescent Drinking Boosts Criminal Activity

by Sheela Philomena on December 17, 2011 at 10:12 AM
Font : A-A+

 Adolescent Drinking Boosts Criminal Activity

A connection between drinking during adolescence and criminal activity has been found in a recent study.

Results will be published in the March 2012 issue of Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research and are currently available at Early View.


"This issue is extremely important because adolescents who are criminally active are significantly more likely to be adult criminals," said Michael T. French, professor of health economics at the University of Miami and corresponding author for the study. "Although adolescents often commit less serious crimes than adults - for example, vandalism and shoplifting - these behaviors can quickly escalate into a criminally active lifestyle without effective interventions. Understanding how alcohol use among adolescents may contribute to criminal activity is therefore a logical and policy relevant area for research."

Unfortunately, French added, much of the research has focused only on illicit drugs and criminal activity. Second, quality data are hard to come by. The health survey data set used in this study, he said, is one of the few longitudinal datasets with excellent measures for alcohol use and criminal activity.

He and his colleagues used data from four waves (n=20,746; n=14,738; n=15,190; n=9,576) of the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health to examine alcohol-use patterns and criminal activity from adolescence through to young adulthood. They were interested in several questions: Does alcohol use have different effects on being a victim or being a perpetrator of a crime? Is the likelihood of committing a property crime for drinkers relative to non-drinkers greater than that of being involved in other types of crime? How do these relationships differ for males and females? Are frequent binge drinkers more likely to be involved in criminal activity compared to occasional drinkers or abstainers?

"We found that for both adolescent males and females, more frequent alcohol consumption is associated with a greater probability of committing a property crime, committing a predatory crime, and being a victim of a predatory crime," said French. "While we were not necessarily surprised that these relationships existed for both genders, the strength of the relationships was a bit unexpected as well as the fact that they were robust to numerous sensitivity tests."

The key message, he noted, is that frequent alcohol use by adolescents may be as important a risk factor for criminal activity as illicit drug use. "Educators, parents, clinicians, and others who interact with adolescents can use these findings as an incentive to be vigilant about underage alcohol use as this behavior could be linked with current criminal activities or a least a precursor to future illegal acts," he said. "Early intervention is probably the best defense in this case."

However, French cautioned, while these findings may inform public-policy measures designed to reduce drinking among adolescents with the goal of reducing criminal activity and delinquency, it would be incorrect and misguided to conclude from these findings that all frequent-drinking adolescents are associated with criminal acts, either as a perpetrator or victim. "However," he said, "this study demonstrates that frequent alcohol consumption is an important risk factor that should not be easily dismissed as normal adolescent behavior."

Source: Eurekalert

News A-Z
What's New on Medindia
World Disability Day 2022 - The Role of Innovative Transformation
Diet and Oral Health: The Sugary Connection May Become Sour
World AIDS Day 2022 - Equalize!
View all
Recommended Reading
News Archive
News Category

Medindia Newsletters Subscribe to our Free Newsletters!
Terms & Conditions and Privacy Policy.

More News on:
Diet Lifestyle and Heart Disease Teenage Alcohol Addiction and Women 

Most Popular on Medindia

Find a Doctor Accident and Trauma Care Drug - Food Interactions Pregnancy Confirmation Calculator Blood Pressure Calculator Indian Medical Journals Hearing Loss Calculator Find a Hospital Vent Forte (Theophylline) Color Blindness Calculator
This site uses cookies to deliver our services.By using our site, you acknowledge that you have read and understand our Cookie Policy, Privacy Policy, and our Terms of Use  Ok, Got it. Close

Adolescent Drinking Boosts Criminal Activity Personalised Printable Document (PDF)

Please complete this form and we'll send you a personalised information that is requested

You may use this for your own reference or forward it to your friends.

Please use the information prudently. If you are not a medical doctor please remember to consult your healthcare provider as this information is not a substitute for professional advice.

Name *

Email Address *

Country *

Areas of Interests