Your Partner’s Friends May Increase Your Alcohol Abuse

Friends of Romantic Partner Can Increase Your Alcohol Abuse

We worry about our own friends having too much of an influence over us, and now we have to worry about our significant other’s friends too? A new study published in the American Sociological Review examined how much the friends of a teenager’s boyfriend or girlfriend drink can have more influence on the teen’s drinking habits than their own friends or significant other.

The researchers found that dating someone whose friends drink a lot actually increases a teen’s risk of engaging in dangerous drinking themselves, including binge drinking and frequent drinking; and not by a little bit either. Those teenagers whose partner’s friends drink heavily are more than twice as likely to binge drink themselves; compared to teens whose own friends or partner drink heavily.

But why do our partner’s friends influence our drinking habits more so than our own friends? In the words of the study’s lead author Derek Kreager, “The friends of a partner are likely to be very different from the adolescent and his or her friends and they might also be, at least a little, different from the partner. Adolescents are motivated to be more like their partner’s friends in an effort to strengthen their relationship with their partner.”

This type of information is vital in the healthy growth of today’s youth and avoiding alcohol abuse.


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