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Difficult childhood linked to drinking

Children who live in a food-insecure household, live with a problem drinker, are physically abused or coerced into having sex are more likely to report drunkenness, says study.

india Updated: Jul 05, 2010 18:39 IST

An African study has found a link between a difficult childhood and alcohol consumption as a teenager.

Researchers studied the association between adverse childhood experiences and drunkenness among 9,189 adolescents aged 12-19 years living in Burkina Faso, Ghana, Malawi and Uganda.

Caroline Kabiru and a team of researchers from the African Population and Health Research Centre (APHRC), Nairobi, conducted the study.

They said: "Overall, nine percent of adolescents reported that they had been drunk in the 12 months preceding the survey. In general respondents who had lived in a food-insecure household, lived with a problem drinker, been physically abused or been coerced into having sex were more likely to report drunkenness," the study said.

There has previously been little research into the determinants of alcohol use among adolescents in sub-Saharan Africa, said the study, published in Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and Mental Health.

The researchers' work is supported by similar studies in other parts of the world, which also draw a link between adverse childhood experiences and future drinking, according to a APHRC statement.

Kabiru said: "Early treatment for traumatic childhood experiences may be an essential component of interventions designed to prevent alcohol abuse among adolescents."