Researchers in Canada have performed a new study that they believe shows that efforts at early intervention when behavioral problems start can help lower the risk of teen substance abuse or even prevent this type of activity in adolescence. The study involved a comprehensive program which covered a time span of two years, and the program was aimed at kindergarten students who came from underprivileged backgrounds and those with a low level of socioeconomic status. Teen substance abuse is a common problem, and there is a well recognized link between behavioral problems in children and alcohol or drug abuse in these teens. A report on the study was published in the British Journal of Psychiatry. The Researchers from Canada wanted o evaluate whether early intervention with childhood behavioral problems could lower the risk of teen substance abuse later on in adolescence.
The research study on childhood disruptive behavior and teen substance abuse involved 172 male children who had exhibited disruptive behavior, and all of the student participants were from lower socio economic backgrounds. Out of the 172 study participants 42 of the boys participated in the two year comprehensive program along with their parents. The program started when the child was 7 years old and followed through until age 9. Social skills training, self control, impulsive behavior reduction, and antisocial behavior reduction techniques were all taught to the 42 boys and their parents, and the parents were also taught to recognize problem and disruptive behaviors more effectively. The boys who received the early intervention program had lower rates of teen substance abuse than those who did not.