Reserchers at USC’s School of Social Work have found that teens living in families where a sibling or a parent is sent to war are more likely than their peers to use alcohol, tobacco and other drugs.
Their study, which appears in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, suggests drug and alcohol use is highest among teens who had a brother or sister sent to war than those with a deployed parent.
The study is among the first to consider the effect of sibling deployment on adolescents.
Researchers gleaned their findings from anonymous surveys of 14,149 Southern California high-school students who participated in the 2011 California Healthy Kids Survey. About 14 percent of the participants came from families with a close military connection.
The researchers say their findings suggest more community and school-based support for teens with close relatives deployed in the military.