‘Rounds’ pressure Brits to drink more alcohol

Buying drinks in ‘rounds’ encourages more than a third of UK drinkers to consume more alcohol than they had originally planned to, new research has suggested.

A new study by independent alcohol education charity Drinkaware has revealed a “culture of peer pressure” around alcohol consumption in the UK, with 37% of adult drinkers reporting their alcohol intake increased because they were involved in buying a ‘round’.

A third of those questioned (34%) said they drank more because they did not want to seem rude by refusing a drink, while 29% said they wanted to keep up with others in the group.

To get out of drinking more alcohol, 37% of respondents said they use methods such as ‘nursing their drink’, and 11% said they actively seek friends who drink little or no alcohol.

Drinkaware surveyed a total of 2,145 adults between 11-12 July 2019 as part of of the study, which was conducted online.

Elaine Hindal, Drinkaware chief executive, said: “Our research lifts the lid on a culture of peer pressure in this country. It speaks volumes that over half the adult population say they would like there to be less pressure to drink.

“And it seems from our new research that being polite, not wanting to confront a situation and feeling the need to keep up could be preventing many of us from standing up to that pressure.

“Pressure to drink in the majority of cases isn’t malicious, it may not even be conscious. Most people just want the people they’re with to have a good time. But regularly drinking alcohol above recommended levels can significantly increase the risk of developing a range of health conditions.”

Additional findings from the study showed 35% of drinkers felt that pressure to drink was common in their age group. For those aged between 18-24 years old, 60% felt this pressure, and 57% said they would like it to be “less prevalent”.

Drinkaware also highlighted that the number of people who drink at least once a year has “decreased year on year”, but these latest results “could be fuelling binge drinking”. Of those questioned, 46% of people who binge drink said they drank more due to being “encouraged by others”, compared to 35% among other drinkers.

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