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Friday, February 25, 2011

Does Ethnic Background Influence Drinking Rates? Absolutely

In our research for the book Delaying that First Drink we learned  that people from different races and ethnic backgrounds have different usage and addiction patterns to alcohol. They vary depending upon age as well. 

Here is some of the evidence-based research from NIAAA and other sources:

Who Drinks Most Often? Alcohol use is most frequent in Whites (59.8 percent), lowest for Asian Americans (38.0 percent), and in the middle for Native Americans (47.8 percent), Hispanics (46.3 percent), and African Americans (43.8 percent). 

Who are the Heaviest Adult Drinkers? Native Americans are the heaviest drinkers of any ethnic group at just over 12 percent. Heavy drinking is defined as having five or more drinks on the same occasion for 5 or more of the past 30 days. Whites are next at 8 percent followed by Hispanics at 6 percent.. This data comes from 30-day estimates of drinking provided by the 2007 National Survey on Drug Use and Health.

Who are the Heaviest Young Drinkers? Among young adults ages 18-24, Whites and Native Americans had high rates of current drinking (77 and 70 percent, respectively). African Americans, Hispanics, and Asian young adults had lower rates of drinking at about 60 percent.

Who has the Highest Death Rate from Alcohol? Alcohol-related deaths are higher among African-American males than white males. Alcohol-related deaths rates for white Hispanic Latino men are double that for non-Hispanic white men. The leading cause of death among Native Americans is alcohol-related.

Who has Lower Abstinence Rates? Chinese Americans have higher rates of abstinence from alcohol, while Japanese Americans report higher rates of heavy drinking. With respect to adolescent drinking, African American teens drink less than non-Hispanic white and Latino teens.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Children Who Exercise Self Control in Pre-School Have Less Issues Later

The children who struggled with self-control as preschoolers were three times as likely to have problems as young adults. They were more prone to have a criminal record; more likely to be poor or have financial problems; and they were more likely to be single parents.

Self-control keeps us from eating a whole bag of chips or from running up the credit card. A new study says that self-control makes the difference between getting a good job or going to jail — and we learn it in preschool.

"Children who had the greatest self-control in primary school and preschool ages were most likely to have fewer health problems when they reached their 30s," says Terrie Moffitt, a professor of psychology at Duke University and King's College London.

Moffitt and a team of researchers studied a group of 1,000 people born in New Zealand in 1972 and 1973, tracking them from birth to age 32. The new study, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, is the best evidence yet on the payoff for learning self-discipline early on.

The researchers define self-control as having skills like conscientiousness, self-discipline and perseverance, as well as being able to consider the consequences of actions in making decisions.

This comes right from an NPR story - check out the link.http://www.npr.org/2011/02/14/133629477/for-kids-self-control-factors-into-future-success


Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Moms are the Alcohol Police - Dads Not so Much

Mothers have more influence than dads in convincing kids not to drink young. Why?

According to data pulled from a study done by the Partnership for Drugfree.org in 2009, 73% of moms and only 59% of dads are likely to talk with their kids about alcohol use. That 15% is a pretty big gap. They don't say if this is because dads don't consider drinking alcohol as serious as cigarette smoking or smoking marijuana, both of which dads are more involved in talking about. But it makes sense.

Let's face it, in most families it's the mother who is raising the children. I could count on the fingers of one hand the number of times my kids' father has proactively raised an issue about our kids lives.

To be fair, that's in the six years since we haven't lived together. I don't know if the moms create their own less involved dad because they handle everything, or because the dads are somewhat hardwired to worry more about other stuff. But whatever it is, moms have more influence on their kids' lives than fathers. Period.

The Partnership did find that fathers are engaged almost as much as moms in monitoring their kids' daily activity, with moms at 91% and dads at 86%. That's certainly a lot higher than 20 years ago.

Moms also tend to be the alcohol police because they are nurturers and big believers in getting help when a child is abusing alcohol. Moms are the listeners, kids share their problems with them more. Plus seventy nine percent of moms think treatment will help, while only 69% of dads do.

The Partnership's conclusion is to keep directing anti-alcohol campaigns to the mothers because that's where they will have the most influence. I say we just all keep talking to our kids.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Rude Awakening - Teen Texts From Last Night

Fellow parents - CASA Columbia - the alcohol, drug and tobacco research arm of Columbia University points out a truly disturbing web site in its CASA Inside newsletter. Called Texts from Last Night it provides a really disturbing profile of what teens are talking about and what they are doing.

A couple of the texts from the post Super Bowl frenzy in Dallas -

Just woke up next to our cab driver from last night. Please tell me this isn't happening.

rolled over to window for cup of snow instead of leaving bed for water. that's how hungover

If I remember who won the superbowl tomorrow morning.. I think I'm just going to quit drinking. There really won't be a point anymore

She just said, "are my livers going to die?"

You have to be a member to read the comments but know that there are hundreds of them for each text.

These are some of the milder ones. If you are interested in scaring the parent in you on Twitter follow @TFLN.

Here's some information on the study CASA Columbia study of adolescent life which is in progress.

Taking a close look at that culture and why some adolescents “choose to use” is at the crux of the latest CASA report now being completed by the Center’s Policy Research and Analysis Division. The two-year study, funded by the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation, Carnegie Corporation of New York, and Legacy®, takes a comprehensive, yet accessible, look at substance use among America’s high school-aged youth and what may motivate this high-risk behavior.

 The study is grounded in what we know of the disease of addiction and the life paths that lead to this all too common illness. It focuses on the culture in which high school-aged teens live and how that culture influences their use of addictive substances. It also looks at other factors contributing to or driving their addiction related behaviors — their attitudes and perceptions, the behavior of other teens, parents, teachers and other school personnel, and the far-reaching consequences of teen substance use ranging from impaired academic performance to mental health problems, accidents, suicides and crime, to addiction and secondhand effects on those exposed to teen use.

If you're interested in the CASA Inside newsletter here's the link: