With each passing year, teenagers are beginning to experiment with alcohol at a younger age. Although the legal drinking age is 21, the average age an American girl has her first drink is 13 and the average age for a boy is 11. [1] Information such as this has prompted countless studies to determine the effects of children beginning to abuse alcohol at such a young age.

Carnegie Mellon University and the University of Pittsburgh recently conducted a study that was published in the Journal of Clinical Psychological Science. The study involved the effects of teenagers drinking in social settings and when they drink in isolation, by themselves. Interestingly, the child who is more likely to become alcohol dependent and further abuse the substance later in life are the teenagers who drink alone. [2]

The study found that the fewer people a person drinks with, the more that they will drink. The study was comprised of over 700 teenage participants in their mid-20s. The participants were questioned on their teenage drinking habits and those answers were compared with their current alcohol consumption behaviors.

The study resulted with researchers concluding that 39 percent of the teenage group were solitary drinkers. Those solitary drinkers were 50 percent more likely to have developed an alcohol dependence by the age of 25. These findings aid in creating the correlation between solitary drinking and alcoholism.


Research supports that not only are solitary teenage drinkers more likely to become alcoholics, they are also more likely to do so at a younger age. Mistakenly, many children believe that alcohol is safe due to its legality once a person turns 21, however, they couldn’t be more wrong. Due to a variety of stressors, children are turning to the bottle, instead of coping with their issues in a healthy manner.

Kasey Creswell, assistant professor of psychology at Carnegie Mellon University, states, “They seem to be using alcohol to self-medicate as a way to cope with negative emotions and, importantly, this pattern of drinking places them at high risk to escalate their alcohol use and develop alcohol problems in adulthood.” [3]

Alcoholism is the number one substance abuse problem in the United States. [4] There are approximately 12 million alcoholics in America. These staggering statistics portray a bleak landscape for the future of American if alcoholism continues to run rampant among our families and our communities. Alcoholism has a wide range of negative effects that can last a lifetime. Floundering relationships and deteriorating health along with extreme, negative physical consequences, are just a few ways that alcohol can destroy a person’s life.


If you are striving to defeat addiction and enjoy a life of sobriety, contact The National Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Information Center. Our organization maintains a comprehensive database of the leading substance abuse treatment centers across the country. A member of our team will speak with you, recommend the most effective, and cost efficient rehabilitation program that will aid you in becoming sober. For more information please call, (800) 784-6776.


[1] http://www.helpguide.org/harvard/the-dangers-of-teenage-drinking.htm

[2] http://www.cmu.edu/news/stories/archives/2013/november/nov18_drinkingstu…

[3] http://goo.gl/q0ocw3

[4] http://www.niaaa.nih.gov/alcohol-health/overview-alcohol-consumption/alc…