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

Babies can learn that hard work pays off

September 21, 2017
If at first you don't succeed, try, try again. A new study from MIT reveals that babies as young as 15 months can learn to follow this advice. The researchers found that babies who watched an adult struggle at two different ...

Study links brain inflammation to suicidal thinking in depression

September 21, 2017
Patients with major depressive disorder (MDD) have increased brain levels of a marker of microglial activation, a sign of inflammation, according to a new study in Biological Psychiatry by researchers at the University of ...

Oxytocin turns up the volume of your social environment

September 20, 2017
Before you shop for the "cuddle" hormone oxytocin to relieve stress and enhance your social life, read this: a new study from the University of California, Davis, suggests that sometimes, blocking the action of oxytocin in ...

Researchers develop new tool to assess individual's level of wisdom

September 20, 2017
Researchers at University of San Diego School of Medicine have developed a new tool called the San Diego Wisdom Scale (SD-WISE) to assess an individual's level of wisdom, based upon a conceptualization of wisdom as a trait ...

Alcohol use affects levels of cholesterol regulator through epigenetics

September 20, 2017
In an analysis of the epigenomes of people and mice, researchers at Johns Hopkins Medicine and the National Institutes of Health report that drinking alcohol may induce changes to a cholesterol-regulating gene.

Self-control may not diminish throughout the day

September 20, 2017
After a long day of work and carefully watching what you eat, you might expect your self-control to slip a little by kicking back and cracking open a bag of potato chips.

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.