Thursday, June 25, 2015

Friends motivate us to drink more: QUT study

Public Release: 24-Jun-2015
Queensland University of Technology

Friends can be a dangerous influence, with new QUT research confirming what many drinkers already know - that drinking with mates can push you to drink more.

Dr Ryan McAndrew, from QUT's Business School, said group dynamics played a big role in how much people drank when they were with their friends.

Dr McAndrew's research suggests that excessive alcohol consumption could be curbed by offering alternative settings in which people could achieve the same satisfaction that motivates risking drinking.


"Past research has found education on its own promotes awareness but not behaviour change, and legislative policies are limited, so we need to be taking an alternative approach to curbing this risky behaviour."


What we found is that when friends drink together their alcohol consumption can increase, with four main factors being responsible," he said.

"When friends drink socially, whether they know it or not, they drink more because they are mimicking their friends, they are conforming to their friends, they are winding down with their friends and they are enjoying the company of drinking with their friends."

He said the strongest predictor of alcohol consumption was copying or mimicking behaviour, followed by the desire to wind down, then enjoyment and conformity.

Dr McAndrew said the study also found the gender of the participant influenced alcohol consumption, with males on average drinking almost 25 standard drinks per week, double that of females who drank on average 11 standard drinks per week.

"When examining the effect of group gender composition, all girl groups drink for the same reasons as the all boy groups," he said.

"This is likely to be because traditional views around female intoxication have reduced, allowing mostly female groups to adopt similar drinking practices as mostly male groups."


tags: influence

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