A new study has found that the stress of family deployment may make teens more likely to binge drink or abuse prescription drugs. Researchers from the University of Iowa analyzed survey data from 1,700 children of deployed parents and 57,000 children from non-military families. The children of deployed parents were more likely to have tried alcohol, consumed five or more drinks in a sitting, smoked pot, and misused prescription drugs.
The results held true even as young as sixth grade, a result that surprised the study’s senior author, psychiatry researcher Stephan Arndt. Twelve percent of sixth graders with a deployed parent had consumed alcohol and seven percent binge drank, compared to four and two percent of the kids in non-military families. Fifteen percent of all kids and teens with deployed parents had misused prescription drugs, compared to 7 percent of other youth. Although this study only looked at survey results in one point of time, the U.S. government is funding several long-term studies of military children.
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