Why do kids in rural areas drink more?

Rural teens, why do you drink so much? It’s not because there’s nothing else to do in flyover country. It’s because they think their parents and their community don’t care about them, a new study says.

Researchers at Calvin College in Michigan looked 1,425 sixth- to eighth-graders in Wisconsin, North Dakota, Wyoming, and South Dakota.

Live Science says the percentage of middle-schoolers who had imbibed in the past month ranged from 21 percent in some towns to 69 percent in others. It said that suggests high-drinking rates involve more than just boredom.

The findings also illustrated the complexity of the relationship between economic hardship and drinking, researchers said. The poorer the community, the more likely teens were to drink. But it was the relatively affluent kids in those towns who drank the most, perhaps because they’re more able to afford the booze.

The kids’ responses suggested that it’s not boredom that drives them to the bottle. Rather, teenagers seem to have some of the same motivations for drinking as adults. The more stressed the teen, the more likely he or she was to drink.

Update 4:42 p.m. — Based on the number of people who have told me their darkest small-town-upbringing secrets in the last hour, it would appear the study is in error and that boredom really is the reason. Did you grow up in a small town? C’mon. Spill.