Youngest Drinkers Likelier To Use Alcohol For Stress Relief As Adults

A new study reports on the impact of one risk factor for problem substance use:

The younger someone starts drinking alcoholic beverages, the more likely he or she is to reach for a drink to relieve stress when older, a large new study suggests.

Respondents were asked whether they had experienced 12 different types of stressful events in the previous year, such as death of a family member or close friend, unemployment for more than a month, financial crises, legal problems or disruption of a marriage or romantic relationship.

Average daily consumption of alcohol increased by 19 percent with each additional stressful event experienced among those who started drinking at 14 or younger compared with 3 percent among those who took their first drink at 18 or older.

After adjusting for other factors that might be related to the amount of alcohol consumed, the researchers said “the association between stress and volume of consumption was significant only for early initiators.”