Sex. Drugs, and Alcohol

Parents Still Influence College Kids’ Risky Behavior & Alcohol Use, Study Shows


Alcohol. Photo courtesy of Arthur40A(CC ShareALike)

This ScienceDaily article reports the results of a Brigham Young University study that suggests delayed formation of adult identities could be a healthy opportunity for college students to maintain openness to continued parental support.  Results challenge the dominant view that delayed adulthood leads to riskier sexual, alcohol use and drug-related behavior.  Empirical results show that higher levels of parental involvement correspond to lower likelihoods of alcohol abuse, risky sexual behavior and drug use.  Further, higher levels of adult identity formation do not seem to translate to higher levels of altruism and positive values relative to college students with low levels of commitment to an adult identity.  The report is most relevant to parents and college administrators seeking ways to make the college experience as safe and productive as possible for young adults.

Going to college is a freeing experience for all students. It offers them several opportunities for learning and growth, both in and outside of the classroom. Most students are living on their own for the first time and feel more independent and “grown up.”  This enables them to discover new interests and establish an identity, but it also means they can engage in risky behaviors, like drinking alcohol and experimenting with drugs. When a student struggles with addiction, they have trouble reaching out to parents because they want to feel grown up and handle their problems on their own. We enable students to get the help they need, both in their recovery and in the classroom, while rebuilding their relationships with their parents. 

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