When teens decide to drink, they may actually be having the reverse affect that they were looking for. Most teens think that it is “cool” to drink and they do so to fit in, however, new research shows that the opposite could be true. It seems as though deciding to drink is directly linked to increased feelings of loneliness instead of those feelings of being a part of “the in crowd”.
The research was a joint effort by professors from University of Texas and Michigan State. Together researchers plowed through data on over 8,000 teens hailing from 126 separate schools. The information was gleaned through the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health.
Teens Deciding To Drink Resulting From Feeling Socially Isolated
The study team found that while teenagers frequently decide to drink out of a socially-motivated craving to be part of the group, doing so is much more likely to result in them feeling socially isolated and doing poorly at school.
The link between drinking and feeling lonely appeared to be strongest when drinkers attended a school where there was a strong anti-drinking culture and cliques were tight-knit. The fact that kids who drink also tend to do poorly at school and struggle socially made the drinking return even more poignant.
Teen Drinking And Lower GPA Scores
The drinking students typically had lower GPA scores than their non-drinking peers and it is hard to say how this contributes to the social isolation. There appears to be a full-orbed negative interplay.
Kids drink to feel included but their drinking leads to results that further isolate them from their peers. The study also highlights the fact that more positive school environments still can create an atmosphere that pushes kids toward alcohol use.