Middle-aged drinkers still face peer pressure
(Medical Xpress) -- Middle-aged drinkers still face pressure from their friends making it hard for them to stay in control of their alcohol consumption, new research from the Medical Research Council (MRC) suggests.
Evidence from friendship groups of men and women aged 35 to 50 reveals that binge-drinking and drunken behaviour are not unusual among older adults, despite their initial claims that they had become more moderate drinkers with age.
The authors say the findings, published today in the journal Sociology of Health & Illness, suggest heavy drinking is not the sole preserve of young people. Their findings are also in line with Office for National Statistics figures, which suggest that the proportion of 25 to 44 year olds in the UK who drink more than the recommended weekly amount is similar to that among 16 to 24 year olds (men 26% and 21% respectively; women 19% and 23% respectively.
Lead researcher Dr. Carol Emslie, from the MRC/Chief Scientist Office Social and Public Health Sciences Unit in Glasgow, said: “When it comes to alcohol consumption, middle aged drinkers like to think they are ‘older and wiser’ than they were in their 20s. Initially, people in our focus groups stated they had moderated their drinking with age and singled out youthful binge drinking as a problem for society. However, as the discussions progressed, stories of recent heavy drinking contradicted these claims.
“In particular, older adults find it hard to say ‘no’ to a drink in social situations, with some feeling they have to make up excuses to deflect peer pressure. This shows how normalised heavy drinking remains in this age group, where not drinking is the behaviour that requires explanation, rather than the other way round. The approaching festive season could make it especially hard to stay in control of alcohol consumption in social situations.”
The researchers studied 36 participants in Scotland, who were divided into eight focus groups of men and women who knew each other socially and had shared experiences to discuss. Half of the participants reported drinking over the recommended weekly alcohol limits (21 units for men, 14 for women) and six of these were drinking harmful amounts (over 50 units for men and 35 for women).
Some participants recalled feeling compelled to come up with excuses to avoid having another drink. Women sometimes said “I’m de-toxing” or “I’m on a diet” when refusing a top-up, and both men and women reported purposefully taking the car to parties to have a cast-iron reason to avoid drinking at all on a night out.
Professor Dame Sally Macintyre, director of the Social and Public Health Sciences Unit, said: “This intriguing study illuminates what is often an invisible problem. While excessive drinking in young adults often leads to visible disruption in our towns and cities, older adults tend to drink behind closed doors where their behaviour is hidden from society.
“It also demonstrates the importance of in-depth research in understanding the reasons behind observed drinking behaviours in early mid-life. This can help health promoters and policy makers to develop effective intervention strategies with a greater focus on this age group.”
Provided by Medical Research Council
- No need for reduced alcohol consumption in later life Dec 18, 2007 | not rated yet | 0
- Friendly young people in particular drink under pressure Jul 05, 2007 | not rated yet | 0
- Binge drinking due to ‘copying’ behaviour Jun 24, 2008 | not rated yet | 0
- Chinese culture encourages binge drinking in middle-aged men Jul 19, 2011 | not rated yet | 0
- Doctors' own alcohol consumption colors advice to patients Oct 31, 2011 | not rated yet | 0
- Motion perception revisited: High Phi effect challenges established motion perception assumptions Apr 23, 2013 | 3 / 5 (2) | 2
- Anything you can do I can do better: Neuromolecular foundations of the superiority illusion (Update) Apr 02, 2013 | 4.5 / 5 (11) | 5
- The visual system as economist: Neural resource allocation in visual adaptation Mar 30, 2013 | 5 / 5 (2) | 9
- Separate lives: Neuronal and organismal lifespans decoupled Mar 27, 2013 | 4.9 / 5 (8) | 0
- Sizing things up: The evolutionary neurobiology of scale invariance Feb 28, 2013 | 4.8 / 5 (10) | 14
Classical and Quantum Mechanics via Lie algebras
Apr 15, 2011 I'd like to open a discussion thread for version 2 of the draft of my book ''Classical and Quantum Mechanics via Lie algebras'', available online at http://lanl.arxiv.org/abs/0810.1019 , and for the...
- More from Physics Forums - Independent Research
More news stories
Talking on a hands-free device while behind the wheel can lead to a sharp increase in errors that could imperil other drivers on the road, according to new research from the University of Alberta.
Health 14 minutes ago | not rated yet | 0
(HealthDay)—More than one in four of those eligible for new premium assistance tax credits under the Affordable Care Act (ACA) do not have a checking account and will not be able to receive premiums from ...
Health 2 hours ago | not rated yet | 0
After studying noise in one French Quarter neighborhood of New Orleans to determine whether or not noise levels exceeded municipal ordinances, Annette Hurley, PhD, Assistant Professor of Audiology at LSU Health Sciences Center ...
Health 3 hours ago | not rated yet | 0
Young children who missed more than half of recommended well-child visits had up to twice the risk of hospitalization compared to children who attended most of their visits, according to a study published today in the American Jo ...
Health 3 hours ago | not rated yet | 0
The individualisation of drug treatments to support patients to self-manage their conditions is a concept that sits at the heart of policy, but a recent study in BMJ Open shows that there is no concrete defini ...
Health 6 hours ago | 3 / 5 (1) | 0
Two mutations central to the development of infantile myofibromatosis (IM)—a disorder characterized by multiple tumors involving the skin, bone, and soft tissue—may provide new therapeutic targets, according to researchers ...
46 minutes ago | not rated yet | 0 |
(AP)—Government health officials are investigating several health problems reported with potentially contaminated medications made by a Tennessee specialty pharmacy.
40 minutes ago | not rated yet | 0
(Medical Xpress)—A new study by researchers in the US has shown that an ancient virus can be modified to help in the fight against the simian immunodeficiency virus SIV, which is the equivalent in monkeys ...
6 hours ago | 5 / 5 (3) | 0 |
Women at a particular stage in their monthly menstrual cycle may be more vulnerable to some of the psychological side-effects associated with stressful experiences, according to a study from UCL.
3 hours ago | 5 / 5 (1) | 0 |
Biological processes are generally based on events at the molecular and cellular level. To understand what happens in the course of infections, diseases or normal bodily functions, scientists would need to ...
3 hours ago | 5 / 5 (2) | 0 |
Kate O'Reilly's spring allergy survival kit includes the usual stuff - nasal sprays, allergy pills and a box of tissues. This season, she's added a new weapon to her line of defense: an app on her smartphone.
1 hour ago | not rated yet | 0