Kids with alcohol-related merchandise at risk to drink

By Tom Nordlie • Published: June 4th, 2009
Category: Health in a Heartbeat

Here’s a dilemma many parents face: Should you let children have possessions advertising alcoholic beverages?

For the kids, owning a T-shirt or keychain with a beer logo may seem cool.

But mom and dad might wonder if these items encourage underage drinking.

According to a study published in the journal Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine, there’s good reason to worry.

A survey of more than sixty-five-hundred adolescents ages ten to fourteen showed a strong correlation between ownership of alcohol-related merchandise and drinking.

Researchers conducted confidential telephone interviews. Participants were asked about their drinking habits, and numerous other details of their lives.

For nondrinkers, researchers assessed the likelihood that they’d start drinking.

Participants were surveyed three more times over two years.

Those later surveys asked about ownership of alcohol-related items such as T-shirts, jackets, hats and posters.

At the end of the study, researchers analyzed data on participants who weren’t considered susceptible to drinking.

If they owned alcohol-related merchandise at the second survey, they were almost seventy percent more likely to have started drinking by the third survey, compared with kids who didn’t own such items.

Something else for parents to note… the results also showed that kids who had started drinking often acquired alcohol-related merchandise afterward.

In other words, they symbolically announced what they were doing.

So, if your son or daughter starts sporting beer or liquor logos in their personal effects, it might be time for a talk.

The kind that’s served up straight, with no chaser.