The study, published in the Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs, surveyed 561 middle school students in Rhode Island, USA over a three-year period. The study found the following:
A little under a third of the students reported they had sipped alcohol by the start of middle school, with most of those saying they got the alcohol from their parents at a party or on a special occasion.
- 26% of the kids who were given to sip alcohol at sixth grade had a full alcoholic beverage by ninth grade compared to 6% who were not given alcohol.
- 9% of the kids who sipped alcohol in sixth grade binged on alcohol or got intoxicated by ninth grade, compared to 2% who never sipped alcohol.
I would say that it is advisable not to offer your child a sip of your beverage, as it may send the wrong message,” said Kristina Jackson, co-author of the study and a research associate professor at Brown University’s Center for Alcohol and Addiction Studies, as per CNN.Kristina Jackson, study co-author, research associate professor, Brown University Center for Alcohol and Addiction Studies
This study follows a report published in 2014 in the Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs which analyzed existing evidence on effects of offering alcohol to children. The report came to the same conclusion as the above study that “offering even small amounts of alcohol to children could lead to negative outcomes.”
Previous studies have consistently found that offering alcohol to children can increase the likelihood of alcohol harm at a later age:
- A 2011 study in Sweden of 13-year-olds found that when children were offered alcohol by a parent, it was associated with a higher likelihood of heavy episodic alcohol use in girls but not in boys.
- A 1997 study of fourth- and sixth-graders in the United States found that when parents offered children a small amount of alcohol, the children were more likely to initiate alcohol use on their own.
- In addition, another study in 2011, compared seventh-graders in the United States with Australia, where adult supervised alcohol use for teens is allowed. About 36% of the Australian teens had problems with binge alcohol use, compared with only 21% of American teens.