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Child Dev. 1990 Oct;61(5):1520-7.

Identification of alcohol by smell among preschoolers: evidence for early socialization about drugs occurring in the home.

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  • 1Michigan State University.


This study tested preschoolers' ability to provide accurate verbal associations to alcoholic beverage odors and whether this ability was related to parental drinking patterns and motivations. Older preschoolers performed better than younger preschoolers; photographic cues improved performance; children who correctly identified a substance by smell had socially appropriate knowledge of the culturally appropriate users of the substance; children reported liking substances that are used mainly by children and adults, and generally reported disliking substances whose use is legally limited to adults only; children were better at identifying substances they commonly use, but success at recognition of alcoholic beverages was related to heavier parental drinking and use of alcohol for escape reasons. Findings have implications for theories of socialization to drug use and for models of prevention.

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