A research at the University of Liverpool has claimed that targeting personality traits, like impulsivity, could potentially be a successful intervention in preventing adolescent drinking from developing into problems with alcohol in later life. Studies in the UK suggest that approximately 24 per cent of 12 year olds have reported at least one episode of alcohol consumption, rising to 77 per cent of 15 year olds.
The panel of researchers used computer tests that measured inhibitory control, the ability to delay gratification and risk-taking. Over 280 young people (age between 12 and 13 when study begun) took part in the study. The participants repeated the computer tests every six months over the two years of the study. It was found that those who were more impulsive in the tests went on to drink more heavily or have problems with alcohol at a later time, to suggest there is a link between impulsivity and adolescent drinking.
There are, however, significant differences in the age at which teenagers start to experiment with alcohol and the age at which they start drinking regularly. Field said that it is important to identify the psychological characteristics of adolescents who are likely to go on to drink heavily, because this can help us target alcohol prevention more effectively.
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