The risk of teen substance abuse increases when teens experience poor sleep according to a new research study. Data from over 6,500 teens in America was analyzed, with the data being divided into three categories. Each category covered a specific set of years. The first category looked at the data from the years 1994-1995, the second set was from 1996 only, and the third group was data from 2001-2002. The research study findings on poor sleep and teen substance abuse will be published online in February 2015 in the Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research journal. When teens have poor sleep or they engage in substance abuse they are at higher risk for motor vehicle accidents, unplanned pregnancy, STDs, and even physical injury as a result.
According to the author of the study, Maria Wong, “Sleep difficulties at the first wave significantly predicted alcohol-related interpersonal problems, binge drinking, [getting] drunk or very high on alcohol, driving under the influence of alcohol, getting into a sexual situation one later regretted due to drinking. National polls indicate that 27 percent of school-aged children and 45 percent of adolescents do not sleep enough.” It is important to note that the study did not show a cause and effect link between poor sleep and teen substance abuse, but that there was an association between the two. Wong holds the position of psychology department experimental training director at Idaho State University. These study results could help develop programs for teens that address poor sleep and substance abuse both, making these programs more effective.