Can This Type of Activity Reduce Dangerous Drinking in Youths?
Participation in organised leisure activities outside of school has already been associated with benefits such as increased school involvement, academic achievement and psychological adjustment.
A new study recently published in the journal of Criminal Behaviour and Mental Health aimed to examine the link between organised activities and hazardous drinking:
Our aim, therefore, was to understand the relationship between participation in organised activities and levels of hazardous drinking in a group of vulnerable adolescents previously under-represented in research.
The researchers considered different groups of youths – young offenders and non offenders and hypothesised that young offenders would show higher levels of hazardous drinking and lower levels of participation in the organised activities compared with the non-offenders.
Once the researchers from Cardiff University had collated the data they were able to show their hypothesis was correct:
As predicted, young offenders participated in significantly fewer organised activities than non-offenders and had significantly higher levels of hazardous drinking.
Between the two groups, those who participated in no organised activities the young offenders were significantly more likely to take part in hazardous drinking than non-offenders.
Interestingly team activities were more beneficial in regards to reducing hazardous drinking for the offenders compared with the non-offenders:
The apparent advantage for the offender groups is consistent with previous observations that show those who are worse-off benefit most from taking part in organised activities
In conclusion it appears that access to the activities may be the barrier that is stopping vulnerable youths taking part in what appears to be advantageous group activities that reduce dangerous levels of drinking by enforcing healthier group norms and social advantages.