Can we tell who will abuse alcohol?

As a parent, I want to know that my child will be a responsible adult. This includes how he’ll handle things like alcohol. Now, scientists at the University of Vermont think they can predict who will be a binge drinker later on in adolescence. By analyzing about 40 variables, they can predict with about 70% accuracy who will binge drink later on.

Some of the best predictors, shares Garavan, include variables like personality, sensation-seeking traits, lack of conscientiousness, and a family history of drug use. Having even a single drink at age 14, was also a powerful predictor. That type of risk-taking behavior — and the impulsivity that often accompanies it — was a critical predictor. In addition, those teens who had experienced several stressful life events were among those at greater risk for binge-drinking.