Teen and Young Adult Drinking

New studies focus on teen/young adult and college freshman drinking


Teen Young Adult College DrinkingTwo UNT Health Science Center public health researchers want to impact risky alcohol use and behaviors among teens, young adults and college freshmen.

Through two new studies funded the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism through the National Institutes of Health (NIH), Dr. Melissa A. Lewis and Dr. Dana M. Litt are connecting with North Texas-area volunteer participants ages 15-25.

One study will look into the situations, influences and state of mind that may lead to high-risk alcohol use, to examine decision-making at both the daily level and developmentally over time, according to age and experience.

The other study, focused on what happens in the first semester of college and how the critical first six weeks as a college freshman can profoundly impact students’ alcohol use and future drinking behaviors, aims to reach these young adults when they are most impressionable.

“An extensive amount of research to date has focused on problems and prevention related to heavy drinking in college, but significantly, we see that about 25% of students who were previously non-drinkers or light drinkers often begin drinking or progress to heavy alcohol use during their freshman year,” Dr. Litt said. “Timing interventions during the first six weeks of college, the critical ‘red zone’ period, could provide an opportunity to reach these freshmen during their highest time of vulnerability for either beginning or escalating drinking.”

“Alcohol use continues to be a growing problem among young adults and is a leading risk factor for disease, premature death and behaviors that lead to other serious consequences,” Dr. Litt said. “We hope to better understand the motivators and influences, and to develop prevention and intervention recommendations for reaching young adults when they are most apt to make risky drinking decisions.”

For more information on the study of teens and young adults ages 15-25, follow this link.

For details on the college freshmen drinking study, click here.