Study Suggests Ways to Have a Safer Spring Break

Posted by Admin on February 11, 2011
For many spring break is a time honored tradition, a chance to get a little sun and celebrate time off from school before the push of finals. However, over the years spring break has also become synonymous with teens engaging in risky behavior, including binge drinking and casual hookups. For those who do want to enjoy spring break without waking up with regrets, a recent study published in the Journal of Youth and Adolescence shows that students who make arrangements with friends to "get their backs," are less likely to engage in risky behavior.

This study comes from researchers at the University of Michigan, and said that of the 650 college freshman participants, 60 percent had an understanding with their friends about using alcohol during spring break. Twenty-four percent had an agreement with friends to get drunk and eighteen percent had an agreement not to get drunk. Sixteen percent had an agreement with friends to use a condom if they have sex.

Megan Patrick, a developmental psychologist and lead author of the paper said that, "Students who went on a spring break trip were nearly four times as likely as other students to engage in binge drinking, [and that]  understandings students had with their friends were also important predictors of alcohol use and sexual behavior."

Patrick stress that, "It's important to encourage young people to talk with their friends about being safe during spring break.”

So if you are going to have fun over Spring Break, make an agreement with friends to practice a little moderation – and encourage each other to make smart choices. If your kids are going on spring break, sit them down to have a conversation about binge drinking, and make sure the friends they are going with are on board.

Diane Swanbrow
University of Michigan

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