Which Teens Will Be Binge Drinking at 16?

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We know adolescents often experiment with alcohol — but we don’t know why some teens go on to binge drink, while others learn to drink responsibly. According to recent research from the University of Vermont, though, we may have some clues.

In the study, published earlier this week in the scientific journal Nature, brain scans were taken of around 700 14-year-olds from across Europe. The study also looked at these teens’ genetics, personalities, and drinking habits. Researchers then followed up with teens two years later to see how their habits changed.

Information about these teens and their drinking habits was used to develop a list of factors which could help predict teenage binge drinking with up to 70% accuracy. Some of the most notable factors were actually personality-based, revealing that thrill-seeking teens who lacked conscientiousness were more likely to binge at 16 than their more straight-laced peers.

Though 70% accuracy may not seem like a lot, any factors that could help to stop addiction and protect teens from binge drinking and alcohol poisoning are a huge step forward. This study also helps guide scientists toward pinpointing the root of addiction in general, which could be used to save lives across the world.

Whether your teen is experimenting with alcohol or not, they should be prepared for safety. Give your teens the graphic below — judgment-free! — to help them understand the facts about binge drinking.

alcohol poisoning

Did you know there’s a health and well-being magazine just for teens, featuring potentially life-saving articles, like this one about alcohol poisoning? Share it with your teen now (seriously — now!) and subscribe to keep them healthy and informed.