As children mature, it is natural for them to assert their independence, seek new challenges, and take more risks. Underage drinking is a risk that attracts many developing adolescents and teens. Many want to try alcohol, but often do not fully recognize its effects on their health and behavior.
Some reasons that young people drink alcohol include:
- Peer pressure
- Increased independence, or desire for it
- Social availability
In addition, many youth may have easy access to alcohol. In 2015, among 12–14-year-olds who reported that they drank alcohol in the past month, 95.1 percent reported that they got it for free the last time they drank. In many cases, adolescents have access to alcohol through family members, or find it at home.
Hingson RW, Heeren T, Edwards EM. Age at drinking onset, alcohol dependence, and their relation to drug use and dependence, driving under the influence of drugs, and motor-vehicle crash involvement because of drugs. Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs. 2008;69:192–201.
Warner LA, White HR, Johnson V. Alcohol initiation experiences and family history of alcoholism as predictors of problem-drinking trajectories. Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs. 2007;68:56–65.