According to new research, loneliness as a pre-adolescent kid can lead to a drinking problem in early adulthood years later. Alcoholism is not the only health issue associated with loneliness. Loneliness relates to poor physical health in older persons, including dementia, heart disease, and stroke. Arizona State University researchers investigated the impact of childhood loneliness on contemporary stress levels and drinking patterns in young people. The findings of the study will be published in Addictive Behaviors Reports.
“Childhood loneliness before the age of 12 was connected with felt stress today and influenced dysregulated drinking in young adults,” said Julie Patock-Peckham, assistant research professor in the ASU Department of Psychology.
Because stress influences whether individuals drink excessively, particularly women, the researchers investigated if previous experiences with loneliness influenced the tension people feel now.
Over 300 college students took part in the study, completing questionnaires on their childhood loneliness, present stress levels, and drinking habits. Loneliness in the past was linked to current stress levels and drinking habits.
Higher degrees of loneliness before the age of 12 predicted increased stress in early adulthood, which was linked to increased alcohol consumption and alcohol-related issues.
“The data utilised in this study were obtained prior to the pandemic, and the findings imply that we might be dealing with another public health problem in a few years as today’s youngsters grow up,” Patock-Peckham said.
“More study is needed to determine if reducing childhood loneliness might alter the pathways that lead to alcohol use problems in adulthood. Combating early loneliness should aid in the reduction of poor drinking control, particularly among women.”