“I just saw no fun in it,” said Wright, a North Bethesda resident who is 16 and doesn’t drink alcohol of any kind. “There’s just no appeal to me, and I just don’t understand why kids do it. All of my good friends don’t drink, and my girlfriend’s the same.”

If that sounds counterintuitive to those who were teenagers in the mid- to late-20th century, it fits right onto the curve of teenagers’ proclivities in recent years.

A study released this week in the journal Child Development found teens are increasingly delaying activities that had long been seen as rites of passage into adulthood, including alcohol consumption. Over the past four decades the portion of teenagers who have tried it has plunged from 93 percent to 67 percent, according to the study.