Teens and young adults who drink alone are more likely than their peers who don’t engage in solitary drinking to have symptoms of alcohol use disorder later in life, a new study finds.
Researchers followed 4,500 teens who were asked about their alcohol use when they were high school seniors. They were questioned again in their early 20s and when they were 35. Researchers found about 25% of teens and 40% of young adults who drank reported doing so alone, CNN reports.
When compared with people who drank with others, those who drank alone as teens had a 35% higher risk of alcohol use disorder by age 35. The risk was particularly strong among females, the study found.
“Most young people who drink do it with others in social settings, but a substantial minority of young people are drinking alone. Solitary drinking is a unique and robust risk factor for future alcohol use disorder,” lead author Kasey Creswell of Carnegie Mellon University said in a news release. “Even after we account for well-known risk factors, like binge drinking, frequency of alcohol use, socioeconomic status and gender, we see a strong signal that drinking alone as a young person predicts alcohol problems in adulthood.”