The correlation between lying and alcohol consumption in teens

May 26, 2017
Credit: National Research University Higher School of Economics

Adolescents who have a greater tendency to lie to their parents are also more likely to start using alcohol at an earlier age, while excessive parental supervision may aggravate rather than solve the problem. Both honesty and a lower risk of developing a drinking habit are usually the result of a trusting relationship between a teenager and parents, according to a joint study by New York University and HSE researchers, published at Journal of Adolescence.

Teenagers who habitually mislead their parents about their activities outside the home are more likely to start using , while their parents may be unable to help them, since the child has already mastered the skills of lying and hiding 'undesirable' information from adults. A longitudinal study conducted by U.S. and Russian researchers found a direct link between lying and early initiation into alcohol usage. The study used a sample of more than 4,000 U.S. seventh and eighth graders and their mothers. Respondents were anonymous; the adolescents listened to audio recordings of questions and responded confidentially. The researchers documented the sample's socio-demographic parameters and examined the child-parent relationships for openness and trust, with a particular focus on any examples of lying and hiding information. A separate group of questions was addressed to the adolescents, specifically concerning alcohol and . Those adolescents who admitted to lying to adults were found to be more likely to have a drinking habit or a higher risk of future alcohol addiction than those who reported being honest with their parents.

This is the first paper to examine the relationship between teenage lies and alcohol use. Earlier studies focused more on the role of parental supervision in early alcoholism prevention. This study's findings also confirmed that a warm and trusting child-parent relationship could lower both the tendency to lie to adults and the risk of developing a drinking habit in adolescence. Adolescents tend to disclose more information about themselves to parents whom they perceive as loving and supportive. A child's satisfaction with family relationships can lower the likelihood of both lying and drinking.

In contrast, excessive parental monitoring was found to be ineffective in preventing bad habits in teens, often causing them to lie more. "Adolescence is the age at which children in our societies work hard to develop their skills of autonomy," according to sociology professor Victor Kaploun, co-author of the paper. "In a situation where trust is absent from the between parents and their teenage children, the latter might consider both lying and drinking as acceptable practices for developing autonomy skills. This is why such behaviours are interconnected, while excessive parental control can be counterproductive."

The paper also notes that teens whose peers drink alcohol are also more likely to lie to their , but this effect is more typical for boys than girls. According to the authors, the findings can be useful for designing effective teenage drinking prevention strategies.

Explore further: Should parents give their children alcohol?

More information: Viktor Lushin et al, Parental monitoring, adolescent dishonesty and underage drinking: A nationally representative study, Journal of Adolescence (2017). DOI: 10.1016/j.adolescence.2017.04.003

Related Stories

Should parents give their children alcohol?

March 10, 2017
Children and teens who are given alcohol by their parents are twice as likely to be drinking full serves of alcohol by age 15 or 16, but are much less likely to binge drink, a UNSW study shows.

New study shines light on teenage drinking and parental influence

February 11, 2016
A study of adolescents' drinking habits between the ages of 11 to 17 has found that the heaviest consumers of alcohol were teenagers who were under the lowest levels of parental control, and who were also the most secretive ...

Parents may be putting kids on path to drinking

September 8, 2014
Teenagers whose parents supply alcohol in early adolescence are three times as likely to be drinking full serves of alcohol at age 16 as children in families that do not supply alcohol, a major new study from the National ...

Preventing adolescent substance use may need to start in early childhood

November 15, 2016
Research from the University at Buffalo Research Institute on Addictions suggests the approach to preventing alcohol and drug use by some adolescents should begin in early childhood.

Early maturing girls at great risk of alcohol abuse without close parental supervision

September 28, 2015
Inadequate supervision by parents during early adolescence forecasts a host of behavior problems, including problem drinking. The risk of alcohol abuse arising from inadequate parental supervision is particularly high for ...

Recommended for you

Visual clues we use during walking and when we use them

July 25, 2017
(Medical Xpress)—A trio of researchers with the University of Texas and Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute has discovered which phase of visual information processing during human walking is used most to guide the feet accurately. ...

Psychopaths are better at learning to lie, say researchers

July 25, 2017
Individuals with high levels of psychopathic traits are better at learning to lie than individuals who show few psychopathic traits, according to a study published in the open access journal Translational Psychiatry. The ...

Toddlers begin learning rules of reading, writing at very early age, study finds

July 25, 2017
Even the proudest of parents may struggle to find some semblance of meaning behind the seemingly random mish-mash of letters that often emerge from a toddler's first scribbled and scrawled attempts at putting words on paper.

Exposure to violence hinders short-term memory, cognitive control

July 24, 2017
Being exposed to and actively remembering violent episodes—even those that happened up to a decade before—hinders short-term memory and cognitive control, according to a study published in the Proceedings of the National ...

Researchers pave new path toward preventing obesity

July 24, 2017
People who experience unpredictable childhoods due to issues such as divorce, crime or frequent moves face a higher risk of becoming obese as adults, according to a new study by a Florida State University researcher.

Higher cognitive abilities linked to greater risk of stereotyping

July 24, 2017
People with higher cognitive abilities are more likely to learn and apply social stereotypes, finds a new study. The results, stemming from a series of experiments, show that those with higher cognitive abilities also more ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.