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Study Shows Affluent Kids May Be More Likely to Abuse Drugs

Study Shows Affluent Kids May Be More Likely to Abuse Drugs

A recent study reveals that academic pressure and isolation from parents may make affluent students more likely to become depressed, and to smoke, drink, and abuse drugs. In a 1999 study Suniya S. Luthar, a professor of Psychology and Education, found that suburban 10th graders had higher levels of substance use than inner-city students of the same age. In a new study Prof. Luthar and Bronwyn E. Becker found the same substance abuse patterns in seventh grade boys in an affluent Northeastern community. They also found that seventh grade girls were more likely to show signs of clinical depression.

Prof. Luthar sees two possible causes for these problems: pressure to excel in school and a lack of closeness to parents. The psychologists found that closeness to mothers is especially important for preventing depression and substance abuse. "Upwardly mobile, affluent families place great emphasis on the achievements of children as well as parents, including multiple extracurricular activities. Between the children's busy schedules and the parents' busy professional schedules, very often what you find is that youngsters do not have enough time to sit down and have a calm and relaxing evening with their parents," Prof. Luthar said.

The article, entitled "Affluent Kids: Both Pressured and Ignored" appeared in the September 17th edition of United Press International.

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