Many Teens Drink. Rich Ones Like Kavanaugh Are More Likely To Abuse Alcohol.


Affluence is a risk factor for dangerous behavior

By Suniya S. Luthar

Original Source: Washington Post

References to drinking punctuate Brett Kavanaugh’s Georgetown Prep senior yearbook page: “Keg City Club (Treasurer),” “100 Kegs or Bust” and “Beach Week Ralph Club.” The woman who says he sexually assaulted her when they were teenagers described him as “stumbling drunk ” during the alleged incident. A woman who said she was a friend of his at Yale recalled that “Brett was a sloppy drunk, and I know because I drank with him.” Kavanaugh’s high school friend Mark Judge, in his memoir, “Wasted: Tales of a Gen X Drunk,” chronicled blackout drinking at Georgetown Prep and included an anecdote about a “Bart O’Kavanaugh” character who drank, vomited and passed out.

While the boozy yearbook page might be attributable to youthful exaggeration, the outsize role of drinking among affluent teens like Kavanaugh’s classmates is consistent with the patterns seen in developmental psychology research. Over the past few decades — starting at Yale, then Columbia University’s Teachers College and now Arizona State University — my colleagues and I have been studying students in high-achieving, elite schools. These are institutions with excellent test scores, rich extracurricular and advanced academic offerings, and graduates headed to selective colleges and, ultimately, to positions of power as adults. Across the country, we have recurrently found that students…click here to continue reading