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July 1st, 2013

Pre-College Chat May Help Parents, Teens Reduce Risk of Underage DUI

Underage drinking is a major contributing factor to teenage driver-related accidents in Texas every year. In fact, according to estimates, as many as 90% of all high school students will try alcohol outside the home before they graduate from high school.

The results of a new study indicate to Houston car accident lawyers that parents can help reduce the risk of underage drinking and driving involving their teenage children by having a conversation with them about alcohol use before they leave for college.

In fact, according to a professor of biobehavioral health at Penn State University, fewer problems with drinking alcohol develop for every year that a teenager is able to delay heavy drinking. The research finds that parents can step in and play a very strong role in helping minimize drinking behaviors in their teenage children. They can do that by discussing alcohol and drinking behaviors with their child before the child leaves for college.

More than 1,900 participants were recruited for the study, and the participants were drawn from freshman at a large public Northeastern University. The participants were divided into 4 categories- weekend light drinkers, weekend heavy drinkers, heavy drinkers and non- drinkers.

The participants were mailed a copy of the handbook that was developed by the Penn State professor, containing several recommendations that parents could use to help reduce the risk of underage drinking involving their college-age child. The handbook contains strategies and communication techniques that parents can use to effectively communicate the dangers of underage drinking to their child. Parents were asked to read the handbook, and then have a discussion about alcohol with their child.

The research found that having a conversation in the fall of the first year of college did not work as well in reducing the risk of underage drinking, and in fact, many families don’t find any drop in the student’s drinking practices at all. The best results occurred when parents had a discussion before the child left for college. In these cases, children were more likely to remain non-drinkers and light weekend drinkers.

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