Young adults drink more in the company of a heavy drinker
Young adults drink more alcohol if they are in the company of peers who drink heavily. NWO researcher Helle Larsen has scientifically confirmed this link for the first time by observing young adults in a research lab converted into a cafe. She defended her PhD thesis on 19 March 2012 at Radboud University Nijmegen, The Netherlands.
Larsen investigated the extent to which about 600 students imitated drinking behaviour in the company of peers. In a laboratory, students carried out various tasks in pairs such as assessing advertisements. Then they could take a break together in a bar that could not be distinguished from a real cafe. What the participants did not know was that the real experiment took place during the next 30 minutes. One of the two students was an actor and had been instructed beforehand to drink either one to three glasses of beer or wine or to opt for a soft drink. On average half of the study subjects opted for alcohol if the instructed actor took an alcoholic drink. If the actor drank more, then the participant consumed 2 to 3 times as much alcohol than in cases where the actor opted for soft drinks or only took a single glass of alcohol. Furthermore, if both drank alcohol then the study subjects sippped their drink at the same time as the actor significantly more often than if one drunk alcohol and the other a soft drink.
Larsen investigated several factors that could influence the imitation of the drinking behavior such as the participant's degree of stress, the relationship between the study subject and actor, and the gender of both. None of these factors were found to exert an influence. "The group dynamics might be so dominating that it overshadows the other individual factors that could determine the alcohol consumption," explains Larsen. The researcher did, however, establish that students who have a specific variant of the gene DRD4 - which controls the reward system in our brains - were more influenced by the actor to drink alcohol than the students who did not have this variant.
For many young people in the Netherlands drinking alcohol is part of going out and spending time with each other. Almost 40% of men in the age group 18 to 24 years can be considered heavy drinkers. Heavy drinking can have many negative consequences ranging from aggressive and violent behaviour to traffic accidents and various health problems. Discovering what provokes young adults to drink is therefore important. Subsequent research must clarify whether people imitate the alcohol use of another person because they are seen as a role model who sets the standard for the drinking of alcohol or whether the imitation is a subconscious cue. "It could be important to make people aware of the fact that they imitate the drinking behaviour of others in social situations,' warns Larsen. 'Increasing the awareness of processes underlying alcohol consumption might help to prevent the development of undesirable drinking patterns."
- Friendly young people in particular drink under pressure Jul 05, 2007 | not rated yet | 0
- Can I buy you a drink? Genetics may determine sensitivity to other people's drinking behavior Jul 22, 2010 | not rated yet | 0
- Poll says drinking frequency on the rise Aug 02, 2006 | not rated yet | 0
- Alcohol and licensing policy could be changing the habits of young drinkers Dec 15, 2008 | not rated yet | 0
- Cocktail hour cure for heavy drinking May 08, 2006 | 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 3 hours 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 5 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 7 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 7 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 9 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 ...
4 hours ago | 5 / 5 (1) | 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 ...
9 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.
6 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 ...
7 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.
4 hours ago | not rated yet | 0