Love and Alcohol: Do Teenagers Really Change Their Drinking Habits to Match Their Partners?

Dec 04, 2015 08:10 PM EST | By Denise Valerie Uychiat

The number of teenagers drinking has dramatically increased, and studies have found out that teens who are in a relationship drink more than those who are not.

This past November, a team of researchers in Development Psychology have analyzed over a thousand teenagers' drinking habits and discovered that the rate of alcohol abuse among friends without any current romantic connection are more similar than those friendships which are in a relationship. Actually, for those who are in a relationship, their level of alcohol abuse closely resemble their partner's drinking habits rather than their friend's.

Another analysis of friendships among teenagers over a two-year period revealed similar trend, with friends who were originally partnerless being the odd one out on their pattern of alcohol use as soon as one of them started seeing someone. Generally, the authors of the study believe their findings proved one of life's saying: that a person really do change drastically once they are in-love.

Study author Dr. Brett Laursen, a professor and graduate studies coordinator in the Department of Psychology at Florida Atlantic University said in a statement that the findings prove why most friends oppose to their friends being in a romantic relationship, calling the partners a distraction from friendships. It is also a reminder how today's social world is changing. Same-sex friends are becoming less important and romantic relationship is given more attention.

During the first part of the research, Laursen and his team went over the responses of 662 girls and 574 boys between the ages 12 and 19 about the extent of alcohol abuse they are engaged in. The authors of the study specifically chose to focus their attention on alcohol use because it's a delicate habit that is known to be very workable to the expectations of our social circle, especially of those close to us, particularly with teens. Approximately one-seventh of teens today are associated with drinking excessively over the past month.

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