Benefits and drawbacks of social non-drinking identified by British university students

Conroy, Dominic and de Visser, Richard O (2018) Benefits and drawbacks of social non-drinking identified by British university students. Drug and Alcohol Review, 37 (S1). S89-S97. ISSN 09595236

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Background/objectives: Promoting the benefits of not drinking alcohol during social occasions where other peers may be drinking (‘social non-drinking’) may support more moderate drinking among young people. We analysed free-text responses from university students to gauge the frequency/focus of identified benefits of, and drawbacks to, social non-drinking. We also assessed whether/how identified benefits and drawbacks were associated with recent drinking behaviour and psychological correlates of harmful drinking. Design and method: Secondary data analyses was conducted on 511 free-text responses provided by students participating in a health intervention. Template analysis was used to identify potential benefits of social non-drinking. Links between responses relating to social non-drinking and behavioural/psychological measures were assessed. Results: 46.2% of female students and 42.0% of male students had engaged in social non-drinking in the previous week. Overarching benefits of social non-drinking included: improved physical and psychological health; increased self-esteem/agency; a higher quality social life; and having a more stable/productive life. Hostility/ambivalence to social non-drinking was evident in 26.6% of responses. Among women only, endorsing higher self-esteem and agency as a benefit of social non-drinking was associated with increased intention to heed government drinking recommendations (β = 0.10, P = 0.036). Discussion and conclusions: Focus on social non-drinking may help encourage more moderate drinking among young people by articulating positives of social non-drinking while raising awareness of a changing normative context in which non-drinking is increasingly more common among young people.

Item Type: Article
Schools and Departments: School of Psychology > Psychology
Depositing User: Catrina Hey
Date Deposited: 17 Nov 2017 12:38
Last Modified: 18 Jul 2019 15:15

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Doctoral training grantUnsetESRCES/J500173/1