By Benjamin Chambers, May 18 2009
Perhaps, like me, you didn't know that there's a genetic variation associated with impulsivity, low self-control, binge drinking, and substance use. Apparently, 40% of the population has it. (Imagine you're a teenager with that gene ... perhaps you'd be even more prone to risky behavior than most?)
Well, a new study supported by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) and the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) has shown that providing an evidence-based prevention program focusing on parenting skills has a huge impact in helping teens with this gene avoid alcohol and drug use and stay safe.
In fact, teens who participated were no more likely to drink, smoke marijuana, or engage in sex than their counterparts without the gene -- but those who had the gene and did not participate in the program were twice as likely to engage in those activities. Score one for prevention.
(The curriculum used in the study, by the way, was Strong African American Families (SAAF), from the University of Georgia and Iowa State University, which was designed specifically for African American preadolescents living in rural areas.)
Updated: March 21 2018