Higher than average levels of impulsiveness, sensitivity to anxiety, sensation seeking and hopelessness. These four personality traits have been shown by researchers to predict those teenagers at high risk of becoming binge drinkers with 90 per cent accuracy.
In the first Australian trial, a program targeting 438 year 8 students with one of these traits successfully halved the onset of drinking and the incidence of binge drinking for up to three years following the intervention.
The Preventure program was designed by Professor Patricia Conrod from the University of Montreal more than 10 years ago to modify a teenager’s behaviour and thinking. It has now been tested on thousands of teenagers around the world – including in the Czech republic, Canada, Britain and Australia – with similar results.
In the first Australian trial in NSW and Victorian schools, students were classified as high risk using the “Substance Use Risk Profile” scale, which measured whether they had higher than average levels of one of the four personality traits. Some had more than one.
Over three years, the private and public school students were asked every six months how often they drank and the frequency of their binge drinking, reported the new research in the Psychological Medicine journal.
Teenagers were taught to better manage their personality traits and individual tendencies, and make better decisions.
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