According to one study outlined in a Huffington Post, the answer to this question is yes. As Behavioral Health Director at UCSB Student Health, Dr. Edwin Feliciano provides assistance to college students with a wide variety of addiction-related issues. Binge drinking affects people of all age, but it does have a disproportionate effect on college students.
The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism estimates that 40 percent of students binge drink and 25 percent of college students report that binge drinking has affected their academic studies in some capacity. It is a serious problem in universities today, but the problem may stem back to middle school or high school.
Children who are introduced to alcohol earlier are more likely to repeat the habit into their teens and twenties. The aforementioned study was from Loyola Marymount University, and it was published originally in the Psychology of Addictive Behaviors. It took a look at parent behavior and their contribution to binge drinking in young people.
Although binge drinking is a very complicated issue with many causes, there’s no question that one contributing factor could be tasting alcohol at a young age. Parents who try to be “the cool parents” and feel social pressures to give alcohol to their children or let them have the party at the house may be doing their children and themselves a disservice. In addition to that, those perceived peer pressures may be overstated in the first place.
Although Dr. Edwin Feliciano has seen patients that abuse alcohol for a myriad of reasons, it cannot be overstated how early introduction to alcohol could greatly increase the likelihood of abuse and addiction later on. An understanding of this by parents, educators, and mentors can potentially help reduce college student binge drinking.