Think before you drink, says research

May 12, 2008

People are being urged to think before they drink as part of a research project aimed at changing people’s binge drinking habits.

A team of health psychologists at The University of Nottingham plan to discover whether using the workplace to supply information on the health effects of binge drinking and asking employees for a small commitment to reducing the amount they drink in a single session could change people’s binge drinking behaviour in the long term.

Dr Martin Hagger, of the Risk Analysis, Social Processes and Health Research Group in the University’s School of Psychology, said: “The workplace offers an existing network that could allow us to get the message about binge drinking out to as many people as possible.

“That could include people who are regularly going out for a few post-work pints, having one too many at the weekend or are simply unaware of the actual units of alcohol they are consuming at home.”

Binge drinking has a huge impact on the UK’s health, economy and society — Department of Health figures show that up to 22,000 alcohol-related deaths occur every year, mainly resulting from stroke, cancer, liver disease, accidental injury or suicide; half of all violent crimes are associated with alcohol abuse; and around 70 per cent of all A&E attendances between midnight and 5am on weekend nights are alcohol-related.

Initially, staff working for organisations participating in the study would be given a leaflet highlighting the harmful health effects of binge-drinking, guidance on the recommended daily units (3–4 for men and 2–3 for women) and some helpful strategies for reducing alcohol intake.

Employees will be asked to spend five minutes engaging in a mental exercise that will encourage them to run through the benefits of reducing their binge drinking and help them to develop a basic plan for achieving their goal.

Dr Hagger said: “It’s all to do with raising people’s awareness of situations in which they might binge drink and asking them to think of a plan of action they could use to change this behaviour. For example, if they know they are likely to go for drinks after work, they might visualise themselves only having a couple of alcoholic drinks before switching to a soft drink.”

The researchers will then follow up with the employees by telephone one month and three months later to find out how successful they have been to sticking to their strategy.

The one-year project has been awarded more than £85,000 from the European Research Advisory Board, which funds projects through compulsory contributions from the alcohol industry for research into drink-related issues.

The team will also replicate the study at a number of public and private organisations in cities in Estonia, Finland and Sweden, which have comparable levels of binge drinking to the UK. The researchers are hoping to establish whether their approach could be successful in helping these nations tackle the adverse effects of binge drinking.

Source: University of Nottingham

Explore further: The importance of gender in cardiovascular health

Related Stories

The importance of gender in cardiovascular health

February 20, 2018
The role of gender has been largely neglected despite playing a critical role in cardiovascular health, University of Melbourne academics have highlighted in Circulation.

Alzheimer's drug repairs brain damage after alcohol binges in rodents

February 15, 2018
A drug used to slow cognitive decline in Alzheimer's disease could offer clues on how drugs might one day be able to reverse brain changes that affect learning and memory in teens and young adults who binge drink.

Parents initiating teens to drinking a bad idea: study

January 25, 2018
Parents who give their teens alcohol, even to teach them how to drink responsibly, are more likely to do harm than good, according to a six-year study in Australia, published Thursday.

More than one in 10 U.K. 14-year-olds admit to binge drinking

January 25, 2018
Just under half of young people in the UK had tried alcohol by the time they were 14, with more than one in ten confessing to binge drinking, according to UCL research. 

A new theory on reducing cardiovascular disease risk in binge drinkers

January 23, 2018
A new study shows that binge drinkers have increased levels of a biomarker molecule—microRNA-21—that may contribute to poor vascular function.

Drug shown to reverse brain deficits caused by alcohol

February 8, 2018
QUT researchers have identified a drug that could potentially help our brains reboot and reverse the damaging impacts of heavy alcohol consumption on regeneration of brain cells.

Recommended for you

Study: Tinder loving cheaters—dating app facilitates infidelity

February 23, 2018
The popular dating app Tinder is all about helping people form new relationships. But for many college-aged people, it's also helping those in relationships cheat on their romantic partners.

The 'loudness' of our thoughts affects how we judge external sounds

February 23, 2018
The "loudness" of our thoughts—or how we imagine saying something—influences how we judge the loudness of real, external sounds, a team of researchers from NYU Shanghai and NYU has found.

Looking for the origins of schizophrenia

February 23, 2018
Schizophrenia may be related to neurodevelopmental changes, including brain's inability to generate an appropriate vascular system, according to new study resulted from a partnership between the D"Or Institute for Research ...

Color of judo uniform has no effect on winning

February 22, 2018
New research on competitive judo data finds a winning bias for the athlete who is first called, regardless of the colour of their uniform. This unique study, published in Frontiers in Psychology, puts to rest the debate on ...

Infants are able to learn abstract rules visually

February 22, 2018
Three-month-old babies cannot sit up or roll over, yet they are already capable of learning patterns from simply looking at the world around them, according to a recent Northwestern University study published in PLOS One.

Antidepressants are more effective than placebo at treating acute depression in adults, concludes study

February 22, 2018
Meta-analysis of 522 trials includes the largest amount of unpublished data to date, and finds that antidepressants are more effective than placebo for short-term treatment of acute depression in adults.

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.