When it comes to prevention of substance use in our “tween” population, turning kids on to ‘thought control’ may just be the answer to getting them to say no, Medical News Today reports.
New research published in the Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs, co-led by professors Roisin O'Connor of Concordia University and Craig Colder of State University of New York at Buffalo, has found that around the "tween-age" years, youth are decidedly ambivalent toward cigarettes and alcohol. It seems that the youngsters have both positive and negative associations with these harmful substances and have yet to decide one way or the other. Because they are especially susceptible to social influences, media portrayals of drug use and peer pressure become strong allies of substance use around these formative years.
"Initiation and escalation of alcohol and cigarette use occurring during late childhood and adolescence makes this an important developmental period to examine precursors of substance use," O'Connor said. "We conducted this study to have a better understanding of what puts this group at risk for initiating substance use so we can be more proactive with prevention."
The study showed that at the impulsive, automatic level, these kids thought these substances were bad but they were easily able to overcome these biases and think of them as good when asked to place them with positive words. O'Connor explains that "this suggests that this age group may be somewhat ambivalent about drinking and smoking. We need to be concerned when kids are ambivalent because this is when they may be more easily swayed by social influences."
To read the entire article, published by CADCA (Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America), click here.
To view a toolkit aimed at helping parents reduce the chances that their kids will develop drug and alcohol problems, click here.