Everything starts at home, doesn't it? This adage proves to be true once more after a recent study found out that children whose parents drink are more likely to drink and drive than children whose parents don't. Even parents who drink just moderately are putting their children at risk of drunk driving.
6 Percent VS. 2 Percent
The study was conducted by researchers from the University of Florida. They found that about 6 percent of teenagers whose parents drank occasionally reported that they drove under the influence of alcohol upon reaching the age of 21 years. This rate is compared to the 2 percent of those whose parents did not drink who drove under the influence of alcohol at the age of 21 years.
The study, which involved 10,000 teenagers and their parents, was followed up seven years later with a second survey to find out how the drinking behavior of the parents affected the kids' risk of drunk driving.
The findings of the study, which were published online and in the November print issue of Accident Analysis & Prevention, stated that clearly the alcohol consumption of the parents has an effect on their children's behavior. This is according to the lead author of the study, Mildred Maldonado-Molina, an associate professor of health outcomes and policy at the University of Florida, College of Medicine.
Lasting Effects Of Parental Example
Because of this, it's crucial that parents are aware how their behaviors may be affecting that of their kids. It's essential to note that the parents' behavior doesn't only have a tremendous effect on the developmental stage of the kids when they are still adolescents but also on their future behavior as adults. Even if parents prohibit their children from drinking especially when they are driving, if the kids see that their parents consume alcohol on a regular basis, they are less likely to heed that advice than if it came from parents who do not drink.
Up To 11 Percent with Peer Pressure
The research also found that while the parents' drinking habit had the most effect on the kids' behavior, peer pressure also had some influence. Teens whose parents do not drink but have friends who do are more likely to drink and drive than teens whose parents and friends do not drink. For those whose both parents and friends consumed alcohol, the teens are at highest risk. About 11 percent of these teens have report of drunk driving upon their 20s.
In a university press release, Tara Kelley-Baker, senior research scientist at the Pacific Institute for Research and Evaluation, gave her comments about the study, in which she wasn't involved. "I think it is really important to understand the influence of parents and peers... Parents must understand the influence they have on their children. Some parents just assume they have lost their influence or that they never had it. Research has shown more and more that this is not the case".
Gender Didn't Matter
It was also noted in the study that gender didn't affect the findings. The influence of both parents and friends almost equally affected men and women.
For the study's conclusion, the researchers urged parents to become more aware of their habits and how these can affect their children. As the cliché goes, everything begins at home.