These are the youngsters who most engage in alcohol

Impulsiveness in boys. Anxiety in girls. These are the two traits that most define young people who engage in alcohol, according to a recent study conducted at the University of Barcelona that has shown that the profiles of adolescents who drink alcoholic drinks vary by sex.

"The intensive consumption of alcohol (drinking five or more alcoholic beverages, in men, or four or more, in women, in just two hours) is a public health problem, especially in the young population, "they warn from the Catalan university in a note in the one that the study has made known.

The work, coordinated by the professor of the Department of Clinical Psychology and Psychobiography Anda Adan, has been published in the magazine 'Drug and Alcohol Dependence' and has found that the profile of these young people is characterized by high levels of neuroticism-anxiety and impulsiveness -Search for sensations, factors that had already been observed in those addicted to other substances. Of course, the study brings a novelty: "this profile is different between the sexes: the high level of neuroticism-anxiety occurs in women, while impulsivity-search for sensations is observed in men, "he says.

The importance of this research is that its results deepen the risk factors of this type of practices, so they can serve to favor the design of prevention programs differentiated between them and them. It is not a trivial issue because, as they recall from this university center, this public health problem affects 35 percent of men in Spain and 20 percent of women between 20 and 24 years old.

The behavior of young people and their risk behaviors

The work was developed with the objective of evaluating the personality profile of university students who drink alcohol with intensity. "This behavior is related to a low perception of risk regarding the consumption of alcohol and other drugs, such as tobacco or marijuana, and is also linked to the risk of developing psychological disorders in adulthood," warns the University.

To reach their conclusions, the researchers selected 140 students university students, of whom 70 were heavy drinkers and 60 were not. The results showed that the group of intensive alcohol drinkers scored significantly higher that the control group in the dimensions of neuroticism-anxiety and impulsivity-search for sensations.

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"These data show that a significant percentage of people with this type of behavior have traits of risk personalities, similar to those found in individuals who have developed a substance use disorder, "explains Adan, who clarifies that, to address this public health problem," it would be necessary to use strategies that reduce these personality traits. "

Consumption of alcohol in young people

Young Spaniards drink alcohol and they do it from a very early age, which is a clear risk to health. According to the data mentioned by the Barcelona study center, in Spain, intensive alcohol consumption usually begins at 13 years and tends to be on the rise, reaching its bit that adulthood (between 18 and 22 years).

How to make young people abandon this harmful practice? This will depend on the profile of each person. According to the researcher, "the abandonment of this practice will be easier for people that do not have these profiles of personality that we have detected, while it will be more complicated for people who have a more impulsive or anxious personality, which could eventually develop an addictive disorder and other serious mental pathologies *, alert.

The importance of differences between the sexes

However, an important point of the work of these Spanish researchers has been to verify the important sex differences. In the group of intensive drinkers it was observed that women would have a personality characterized by a high level of neuroticism-anxiety and men by a high level of impulsivity-search for sensations.

"Intensive alcohol consumption is a multi-causal phenomenon, but our data indicate that women, when drinking, would obtain a more emotional reinforcement, while reinforcement in men would be related to reducing the tension linked to impulsivity, "explains Adan." For this researcher, "these results are very relevant for the prevention of these behaviors in people with these risk personality profiles. "

Knowing these differences will allow local, regional and national governments develop public health programs specific for each sex, which could make them more efficient.Also, an interesting point has been found for future studies that broaden the knowledge about why there are such differences between boys and girls. This group of researchers from the UB is already working on the analysis of the neurocognitive effects of intensive alcohol consumption.

Damián Montero

Video: Questions Every Teenager Needs to Be Asked | Laurence Lewars | TEDxDhahranHighSchool

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