Children Ages 10 to 12 Ambivalent About Smoking and Drinking, Suggests Study

Children ages 10 to 12 feel ambivalent about smoking and drinking, suggests a new study. They have both positive and negative associations with alcohol and cigarettes at this age, according to PsychCentral.

Lead researcher Dr. Roisin O’Connor of Concordia University in Canada says the results indicate the “tween” years are an important time to prevent substance abuse. “We need to be concerned when kids are ambivalent because this is when they may be more easily swayed by social influences,” she said in a news release.

The study included about 400 children, who participated in a computer-based test that required them to place pictures of cigarettes and alcohol with positive or negative words. Dr. O’Connor found that while children initially thought cigarettes and alcohol were bad, they were easily able to start thinking of them as good when they were asked to place them with positive words.

“From this we saw how well the participants were able to categorize the pictures in the way that was asked. Using a mathematical formula of probabilities, we were able to identify how often responses were answered with impulsive and thoughtful processes as they related to drinking and smoking,” she said.

The study appears in the Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs.

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    March 16, 2012 at 7:18 PM

    I have to wonder if the parents knew about this “test”. My son’s school conducted one of these and many parents opted out. I was completely outraged that they would subject a high schooler to this, but to subject kids this young to this kind of thing meant to get kids to demonize their parents is even more despicable!

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    Michael J. McFadden

    March 16, 2012 at 6:17 PM

    And can you IMAGINE what the news stories would have been like if the tobacco companies had paid researchers to gather hundreds of children and teach them to associate smoking and drinking with GOOD things?


    – MJM

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    Michael J. McFadden

    March 16, 2012 at 6:15 PM

    Now let me get this straight. The NORMAL response of the children in the study was to say SmokingDrinking=BAD. But then the researchers ASKED them to say SmokingDrinking=GOOD.

    And because the children did as the researchers asked we now have a headline saying the kids were “Ambivalent” in their attitudes?

    Antismoking studies are getting curiouser ‘n curiouser….

    – MJM

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