KINGSTON, R.I., July 10 (UPI) -- U.S. teens tend to drink more alcohol the summer before college, but parents can help stave alcohol use by discussing drinking with them, researchers advise.
"The protective effects that parents exert in high school continue to be influential into college even at a time when the kids have left the home," Mark Wood of the University of Rhode Island said in a statement.
Wood and colleagues randomly assigned 1,000 incoming freshmen to receive either a brief motivational intervention or a parent-based intervention, none or both. Twenty-eight percent of the students said they didn't drink.
Students who said they drank met with an alcohol intervention provider who delivered information tailored to the student's alcohol use patterns, consequences associated with use and family history of alcohol problems.
Students who said they didn't drink met with a intervention provider who said: "Congratulations, you've made the safest choice in terms of alcohol use at this point. There are more students like you than you think."
A year before the student entered college, the parents were sent a 30-page booklet, which states that close to 30 percent of college students do not drink, but 1,800 alcohol-related deaths of young adults occurs each year.
The interventions were successful for non-drinkers and drinkers, but the students who received the intervention and the parental intervention did significantly better, Wood said.
The findings were published in the Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology.