Sober teens have better relationships with their parents

Published 9 March 2024
- By Editorial Staff
Young people who do not drink alcohol also tend to have negative attitudes toward other drugs.

Young people who do not drink alcohol have a more open relationship with their parents, according to a study. They also tend to have fewer behavioral problems than their drinking peers.

The study, published in the International Journal of Adolescence and Youth, looked at how young people who do not drink alcohol and have no previous experience with it differ from young people who drink over time. Researchers from the University of Gothenburg and Stockholm University followed 600 young people between the ages of 12 and 17. The young people were asked questions about social interaction, mental health, drinking habits and even whether they had shoplifted.

Alcohol consumption among Swedish adolescents has declined since the turn of the millennium. The number of young people who never drink alcohol is also increasing: in 2022, for example, only 38% of students in grade 9 drink alcohol. Fifty years ago, the figure was 90%.

It was found that young people who did not drink tended to have a more open relationship with their parents than those who drank alcohol. Non-drinkers were also more likely to think their parents were significantly more knowledgeable than drinkers. However, non-drinkers had fewer social contacts with their peers and were less likely to make new friends.

In addition, over time, young people who did not drink showed fewer behavioral problems, such as shoplifting or theft, than those who drank alcohol. Those who did not drink also had negative attitudes toward drugs and were less likely to use them.