Not sure if neighborhood or community matters when it comes to your teen’s stability in terms of drug and alcohol use? Think again. A new study published in the American Journal of Public Health found that teenagers who live in a community that provides them positive experiences and interactions may be less inclined to abuse drugs and alcohol compared to teens who don’t have as many positive experiences with their community. It also found that a teen’s choice to spend more time with antisocial individuals correlated with an increased chance of developing a drug or alcohol abuse problem.
Researchers looked at different risk factors to assess whether or not they were indicators for teen alcohol abuse, including:
- Family or genetic risk
- Family strengths
- Association with antisocial individuals
- Antisocial attitudes
- Antisocial behaviors
- Experiences in the community
- Experiences at school
The answers from more than 200,000 teens were included, according to ScienceDaily. It was found that protective factors at home and at school were less indicative of risk for alcohol abuse than personal experiences in the community.
Damon Jones was a researcher on the study. In a news release, he said, “We found that when you put all of the major risk and protective factors into the same predictive model, certain risk factors, such as antisocial peer risk, tended to be more highly predictive of alcohol use than other factors like positive school experiences.”
Improving Your Teen’s Experience in the Community
The study results suggest that increasing a teenager’s positive experiences in the community can help to minimize his risk of developing a substance abuse problem. How to do this? You can:
- Enroll your son in a sport he’s interested in.
- Do community projects with him in the neighborhood.
- Take him to community events like street fairs, cookouts, and other celebratory events.
- Show up to support him when he performs or takes parts in community activities.
- Lead by example and show him how to have a positive and interactive life in the community.
- Leave communities or events that are negative or where drug abuse or alcohol use among teens is deemed acceptable.
If your teen son is struggling with a drug or alcohol abuse issue, you can get him the help he needs today. At Muir Wood, we’re standing by to answer any questions you have about how our treatment services and programs will best serve your son. Call now for more information.