Memories of keg parties, dancing, drugs, drinking games and loud music become distant memories upon graduation, according to a new University study.

Results of this year”s Monitoring the Future study, conducted by the Institute for Social Research, showed that partying, drinking and drug use declined among students when they reach 30 years old.

The study states that 52 percent of men and 48 percent of women at age 18 went out in the evening three or more times a week. But by the age of 31 or 32, only 15 percent of men and 11 percent of women still go out that often.

The decrease in partying as well as drug and alcohol consumption is correlated with age and adult responsibilities, such as marriage and children. While participants in the study demonstrated sharp decline in substance use after marriage, parenthood proved to have an even greater effect.

The study also indicates that high school students who frequently go out in the evening are more likely to abuse drugs. This period also proved to be an important time for setting values during the college years.

ISR social psychologist Jerald Bachman said he hopes the study”s findings will be used to develop drug and alcohol prevention programs for young adults. He said students should have something else to do other than just hang-out.

“Implications for prevention may be to continue the quest for youth to spend their time tutoring younger children, being care-givers for the disabled, and volunteers in the community,” Bachman said.

Tom Hedrick, vice chairman and co-founder of Partnership for a Drug-Free America, said the results from the study are invaluable.

“I can say without equivocation that Monitoring the Future is the most important benchmark in terms of what trends are happening in substance abuse and why they are occurring,” Hedrick said. “(It) gives us a benchmark and a report card on how we are doing in the substance abuse field.”

Since the Monitoring the Future study began in 1975, it has provided 25 years of data on more than 38,000 students in public and private secondary schools throughout the United States.

Bachman and his co-authors analyzed and published the data in their book, “Decline of Substance Use in Young Adulthood: Changes in Social Activities, Roles, and Beliefs.”

The challenge is sorting through a number of explanatory pathways for substance abuse, Bachman said.

“Part of it is simply the teaching. Most religions discourage substance abuse and encourage other religious activities,” Bachman said.

“I hope that our results help to inform a broad range of people in society including parents and policy makers about what American young people are like and how they are changing,” said University social scientist Lloyd Johnson in a written statement. Johnson also is a co-author of Bachman”s book. “I particularly hope that our results assist educators, professionals, and legislators to develop more effective programs and policies,” he added.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published.