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Age of first drink matters for future behavior.

According to a study conducted at the State University of New York at Buffalo, there is a greater likelihood of alcohol abuse or dependence later in life for those whose initiation to alcohol use occurs comparatively early. For every year of decrease in the age of first drink, there is a 12 percent increase in the likelihood of later abuse or addiction, according to researcher James L. York, Ph.D. The study, published in Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research, was based on interviews with 2,276 adults. Among those who had drunk at some point in their lifetime, women reported having their first drink at age 18 on average, while men reported having their first drink at 16 on average.

According to York, "Men and lifetime pathological drinkers reported an earlier age at first drink than women or non-pathological drinkers." Researchers could not draw a conclusion on whether the early drinking actually causes alcohol problems later, saying that a separate factor may account for both the earlier drinking and the later problems.
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Title Annotation:Of Note
Publication:Addiction Professional
Article Type:Brief Article
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Nov 1, 2004
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