The earlier you start drinking, the more stress-induced drinking you may have later, according to a new study. The total amount of alcohol consumption was examined, and not number of "drinking days". This is because total amount of consumption is more of an indicator of stress-induced drinking. Stressful life events caused increased drinking, while normal day-to-day hassles did not.
ScienceDaily (2011-03-15) - Researchers believe that an early age at first drink (AFD) may lead to greater stress-induced drinking. A new study examines interactions between AFD and stressful life events on drinking during young adulthood. Findings indicate a strong link between an early AFD and later heavy drinking when confronted by a high load of stressful life events.
Blomeyer and her colleagues examined participants drawn from the ongoing Mannheim Study of Children at Risk, a longitudinal study of the outcome of early risk factors from infancy into young adulthood. For this study, 306 participants (166 females, 140 males) were asked about their AFD, stressful life events during the preceding three years, daily hassles in the preceding month, and drinking behaviors at 22 years of age. Participants were also asked about amount of alcohol consumed, and drinking frequency/drinking days, in the preceding month. Given that the researchers regularly assessed the participants during adolescence, their responses were assumed to be more reliable than those of an adult sample looking back in time.