Divorce is a leading contributor to early drinking, a study of nearly 3600 American adults shows. Physical and sexual abuse were the strongest of five types of negative experience identified by those who started drinking before the age of 15. Also significant were living with a mentally ill family member and substance abuse in the home.

Researchers at the Boston School of Public Health, reporting in the journal Pediatrics this month, said adults who reported any of those five childhood experiences were more likely not only to drink early, but to drink specifically to cope with their problems. One reason these children may start drinking, say the researchers, is lack of adult supervision.

Childhood abuse raised the risk two- to three-fold, while having a family member who was mentally ill or a substance abuser doubled the odds of early drinking. Adults whose parents had divorced or separated when they were children were 70 per cent more likely to report early drinking than those whose parents had stayed together. ~ Reuters/Yahoo, August 11

 

Carolyn Moynihan

Carolyn Moynihan is the former deputy editor of MercatorNet