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Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Fewer College Freshmen Concerned About Drinking

High school and college are traditionally considered time periods where people experiment with alcohol and drugs. In fact, past research showed that by the time teenagers became college freshmen many of them had already drank or smoked. However, new research has found that fewer college freshmen are reporting drinking and smoking in high school, The Los Angeles Times reports.

A 2014 survey found that 33.5 percent of freshmen said they frequently or occasionally drank beer the previous year, compared with 45.5 percent a decade ago, and 74.2 percent in 1981. The survey also showed that only 38.7 percent of college freshmen said they drank wine or hard liquor in the last year of high school, compared to 52 percent a decade ago, and 67.8 percent in 1987, according to the article.

The drop in consumption may be due to teenagers being more concerned about academic achievement and success later in life, than partying and fitting in with peers. The article points out that many entering college today saw how their families were hit hard by the economic recession, which has led many teens to be more concerned with financial success.

The UCLA Higher Education Research Institute survey showed that college freshmen "were buckling down prior to college and taking their academics more seriously," said Kevin Eagan, interim managing director of the 49 year old poll.

While drinking and smoking is declining, the survey showed that mental illness may be on the rise. Of the 153,000 participating students, nearly 12% of the freshmen rated their mental health as worse than most others their age; that compared with roughly 7% about a decade ago and 3.5% in 1985.

"This is signaling that students are bringing with them some emotional struggles, some mental health issues" which could make it more difficult to stay in school, said Eagan.

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