Number of drinks predicts teens' other risky behaviors
Ralph Hingson, Sc.D., M.P.H., and Wenxing Zha, Ph.D., both from the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism in Bethesda, Md., used data from the 2015 Youth Risk Behavior Survey (15,624 high school students grades 9 to 12) to assess associations of drinking with health-risk behaviors. The authors compared adolescent binge drinking at least twice versus less than twice the age/gender-specific thresholds and non-binge drinking.
The researchers found that 7 percent binged at least twice and 9 percent less than twice the age/gender-specific thresholds, while 14 percent drank less than the binge thresholds. Illegal drug and tobacco use, risky sexual and traffic behaviors, physical fights, suicide, less school-night sleep, and poorer school grades were reported at significantly higher percentages by binge drinkers of at least twice versus less than twice the thresholds versus other drinkers.
"Adolescent alcohol misuse screening should query the maximum number of drinks consumed per occasion and frequency of such consumption," the authors write.
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