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Young Teens That Hate School More Likely to Drink, Have Sex

Preteens and teens that aren’t happy at home or school are far more likely to drink alcohol and those that drink alcohol are far more likely to have sex at an early age.

Researchers at Liverpool's John Moores University interviewed more than 3600 eleven to 14 year olds to find out how things like overall happiness and happiness at school correlated to participation in risky activities, like having sex or drinking alcohol.

They found that:

  • 32% of 11 year olds and 66% of the 14 year olds had even drunk alcohol. For those 11 year olds that had drunk alcohol, the average age of first use was 9.2 years.
  • Those that didn’t like school were twice as likely to drink alcohol and two and a half times more likely to engage in sexual activity
  • Those teens (and preteens) that drank alcohol at least once a week on average were ten times more likely than teens who abstained from drinking to have sex
  • Children who reported being unhappy at home and/or unable to talk to parents were most likely to have ever used alcohol

The researchers say that the study results paint a clearer picture of a very troubling situation – the kids that are most at risk of drinking and early sexual activity are also the ones least likely to respond to parental or school interventions.

Ending on a somber note, the study authors note that compared to other developed countries, adolescents in the UK have some of the lowest general well being scores, and that, "The rising prevalence of adolescent alcohol misuse and stubbornly high teenage pregnancy rates are recognised to be national public health priorities."

The full research results can be read in the Novermber 10th, 2010 edition of Substance Abuse, Treatment, Prevention and Policy.

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