Jell-O shots are common among some groups of teens. They’re a form of Jell-O that has alcohol mixed into it. One study examined the connection between the use of Jell-O shots and risky drinking behavior later in life, such as binge drinking and a higher frequency of drinking.
The study was conducted by Boston University. The researchers surveyed over 1,000 teens and young adults between the ages of 13 and 20 years old who tend to drink alcohol, including those who use Jell-O shots. The survey results found that just over 20 percent had consumed Jell-O shots in the past 30 days. Furthermore, the use of Jell-O shots was higher among females versus males, and they were higher among those from homes of lower socioeconomic status.
Those teens who reported using Jell-O shots reported drinking alcohol on average of two days more than those who did not use Jell-O shots. Similarly, those who used Jell-O shots also drank more heavily, such as drinking 31 alcoholic drinks per month compared to those who didn’t use Jell-O shots, who only drank 19 alcoholic drinks per month. Also, of those who drank Jell-O shots more of them tended to get into alcohol-related fights (19%) compared to the percentage of those who got into alcohol-related fights but who didn’t consume Jell-O shots.
Although it might sound silly, the use of Jell-O shots may indicate a certain playful relationship with alcohol versus having a more responsible and mature relationship with alcohol. Essentially, the results of the study indicated that those who consumed Jell-O shots were more likely to binge drink, drink heavily, and get into alcohol-related fights.
It’s important to remember that this study was not suggesting that consuming Jell-O shots caused risky alcohol-related behavior, but that there may be a relationship between the two. Furthermore, the study provides information about the drinking patterns of young teens and those patterns may influence their behaviors in later adolescence. Also, researchers involved in this study recognize that more research is needed to make a stronger connection between the consumption of Jell-O shots and risky drinking behavior.
Also, if parents and caregivers are aware of the use of such alcoholic drinks, perhaps as a means to hide their drinking from adults, parents can talk to their young teens early enough about the dangers of drinking. Along these lines, one of the lead researchers of the study commented, “Specific interventions to address this consumption may be warranted as part of the effort to reduce risky alcohol use among youths.”
Whether it’s drinking Jell-O shots, sneaking out at night to drink, or spending time with sketchy friends, these behaviors may indicate that your teen is engaging in risky behavior. Talking to them while they’re in their early adolescence and encouraging healthy choices can keep your teen from getting into trouble later in life. In fact, early conversations about the use of alcohol or drugs, peer pressure, and risky behavior can keep your teen healthy, happy, and resilient.
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