Date PostedNovember 10, 2013

Children who Talk Early more likely to Drink as Teens

Researchers from the University of Helsinki claim that children with advanced verbal skills are more likely to drink as teenagers.

According to the recent study conducted by researchers at the university, children who begin speaking at an early age are more likely to also starting drinking at an early age.

The study conducted by Finnish researchers conducted surveys of twins, asking parents to recall when each twin reached milestones and then compared other habits such as smoking, drinking and drug habits. It was discovered that the twin who began speaking first also was more likely to start drinking first during adolescence.

This post from explains:

The study says, children with advanced verbal abilities are more likely to drink as adolescents. Finnish researchers conducted surveys of twins, including a total of 5,457 families.

Parents were asked to remember when each twin reached certain milestones, and their other traits in childhood.

Then, the twins were surveyed about their smoking, drinking and drug habits at least four times between ages 11 and 25. The twin in a family who started talking first, who read first and who was more expressive as a child was also more likely to start drinking first.

The language-alcohol link held true for both surveys of twins; the set born between 1975 and 1979 and the set born between 1983 and 1987, ‘Live Science’ reported. Children with advanced language skills also drank more often, and became more intoxicated when they drank. Also, they were more likely to report a ‘sensation seeking’ personality trait.


Although the study found that those who spoke earlier, began drinking earlier it did not prove that these early language skills caused the early drinking.

One of the reasons deduced by researchers is that perhaps because children who speak earlier have better communication skills, they make more friends and the opportunity for peer pressure is greater. These are the teenagers invited to the parties and subsequently influenced to drink with their friends.

Another hypothesis is that there is a connection between early language skills and the thrill seeking personality trait in teens, this trait makes them try things like alcohol earlier and more freely than others.

The post goes on to explain,

“The finding of these studies were partly surprising to us,” said study researcher AnttiLatvala, of the University of Helsinki. However, the study could not determine whether the advanced language skills caused the drinking behaviour. One reason behind this link could be the better the child communicates, the more friends he or she has, and the more likely the teen is invited to a party with alcohol. “Teens very rarely drink alone,” Latvala said. Also, there could be some connection between language skills and the thrill-seeking personality trait found among the drinking teens in the study.


Researchers warned that the study didn’t follow teens long enough to see which ones developed alcohol abuse issues. They have cautioned that there is a difference between teenage drinking and teenage problem drinking.


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Peter Cutforth is a Director at Urban E-Learning, a global elearning, OH&S training, and web strategy firm based in Little Edward St. Spring Hill, Brisbane, Australia. Urban E-Learning provides compliance related online , Distance and Face-to-Face training products in the construction, hospitality and heavy vehicle transport sectors, to name a few. Examples include the White Card Construction induction course and the RSA - Responsible Service of Alcohol course. Peter's interests extend to training, safety and compliance, online marketing, and Mobile Apps.

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