Not My Teen: Trends to Know – Organized Sports Help Tweens Avoid Risky Behaviors

By Stop Medicine Abuse Posted July 24, 2014 under Not My Teen

Every month, we’re keeping you informed on the latest studies and research in our “Not My Teen” blog series. Today, we’re looking at how youth participation in coached team sports is linked to a lower risk of tween smoking and drinking.

With school out of session, your tween or teen’s free time has likely increased substantially. New research suggests that parents should encourage their children to get involved in a regular summer activities to keep them occupied and out of trouble all summer long. If you couple an organized summer activity with discussing the dangers of drug and alcohol abuse, it can result in an effective combination that may curb your teen from participating in risky behaviors later down the road. A recent study from Dartmouth College provides evidence that parents should look into getting their teen involved in organized sports, as students who participate in these activities may be less likely to try smoking or drinking.

Dartmouth researchers conducted a survey of more than 6,000 U.S. students between 10 and 14 years old to determine if the influence of participating in a sport could, in fact, be associated with the risk of smoking and drinking. The students were then asked about their level of participation in team sports with a coach and without a coach, as well as other extracurricular activities such as music, choir, dance or band lessons. The results of the study showed that those who participated in an organized sport with a coach had the lowest risk of youth smoking or drinking.

Combatting teen drug abuse – especially during this time of year when school isn’t in the picture – has a two-tiered solution: It Keeps your teen busy with a consistent summer activity and it opens the lines of communication to talk about the dangers of substance abuse with your teen early and often.