Drink walkers do it because their mates think it's okay

July 1, 2014, Queensland University of Technology

Friends may be the key to stopping their mates drink walking, a risky behaviour that kills on average two Australians every week, a QUT study has found.

Researcher Dr Ioni Lewis, from QUT's Centre for Accident Research & Road Safety - Queensland (CARRS-Q), said in a survey of young people aged 17 to 25, were the strongest influence on their intentions to drink walk.

"Drink walking, or walking while intoxicated in a public place, is linked to increased risk of injury and fatality," Dr Lewis said.

In a survey, published in Transportation Research, more than 50 per cent of participants said they had walked while intoxicated in the previous six months together with evidence that some young people intended to drink walk in the future.

"The study found that the risks associated with drink walking were seen to be less dangerous than drink driving, however, research shows that in Australia on average 100 alcohol-affected pedestrians are killed each year," Dr Lewis said.

"That equates to more than 5 per cent of all road crash fatalities."

Dr Lewis said the study looked at friends, parents and peers and found friends could significantly influence a young person's decision to drink walk.

"Drink walking may occur, for instance, when young people start drinking at home before heading out to pubs or clubs, or when they're walking between licensed venues," she said.

"We now know that when young people who perceive their friends approve of drink walking and believe their friends engage in drink walking, that these young people are more likely to drink walk in the next six months."

She said the study also identified young males as being most at risk, because they considered drink walking to be a low-risk activity.

"If we can turn around the perception of young people that drink walking is not a low-risk activity and it is dangerous, then we may be able to reduce the injuries and fatalities."

Dr Lewis said the next step, which was currently under way in another study, was to design and test safety messages aimed at discouraging drink walking among .

The study is looking for 18-25 year olds willing to provide their responses to some anti-drink walking advertising concepts via an online survey.

Explore further: Drinking buddies deny copying alcoholic drink orders

More information: The survey is available at survey.qut.edu.au/f/180604/3f20/ or by going to the Participant in Research link on the CARRS-Q homepage www.carrsq.qut.edu.au

The results of the original study were published in a paper titled Does it matter whether friends, parents or peers drink walk? Identifying which normative influences predict young pedestrian's decisions to walk while intoxicated.

Related Stories

Drinking buddies deny copying alcoholic drink orders

March 4, 2014
People who copy their friend's drinking behaviour will deny that their decision has been influenced, researchers at the University of Liverpool have shown.

Over 45s drink more frequently than young women

June 3, 2014
(Medical Xpress)—They don't tend to binge drink but middle-aged women over 45 consume alcohol more frequently than any other age group, a behaviour putting their long-term health at risk, according to QUT researcher Hanna ...

Three-quarters of U.S. teens say they don't drink

October 23, 2013
(HealthDay)—About three-quarters of American high school students say they don't drink alcohol, a new survey finds.

Teens often copycat others who drink and drive, study finds

March 17, 2014
(HealthDay)—Want to make sure your teen doesn't drive while intoxicated? You might want to start by making sure he or she doesn't go riding with peers who have been drinking or using drugs.

Study finds risky drinking improves 'social status'

June 25, 2014
Young adults of both sexes are more likely to engage in riskier patterns of drinking alcohol as part of gaining a better social status among their peers—and health authorities need to consider these factors when developing ...

Walking may have profound benefits for patients with kidney disease

May 15, 2014
For individuals with kidney disease, walking may help prolong life and reduce the risk of needing dialysis or a kidney transplant. That's the conclusion of a study appearing in an upcoming issue of the Clinical Journal of ...

Recommended for you

Americans are getting more sleep

January 19, 2018
Although more than one in three Americans still don't get enough sleep, a new analysis shows first signs of success in the fight for more shut eye. According to data from 181,335 respondents aged 15 and older who participated ...

Wine is good for you—to a point

January 18, 2018
The Mediterranean diet has become synonymous with healthy eating, but there's one thing in it that stands out: It's cool to drink wine.

Sleep better, lose weight?

January 17, 2018
(HealthDay)—Sleeplessness could cost you when it's time to stand on your bathroom scale, a new British study suggests.

Who uses phone apps to track sleep habits? Mostly the healthy and wealthy in US

January 16, 2018
The profile of most Americans who use popular mobile phone apps that track sleep habits is that they are relatively affluent, claim to eat well, and say they are in good health, even if some of them tend to smoke.

Improvements in mortality rates are slowed by rise in obesity in the United States

January 15, 2018
With countless medical advances and efforts to curb smoking, one might expect that life expectancy in the United States would improve. Yet according to recent studies, there's been a reduction in the rate of improvement in ...

Can muesli help against arthritis?

January 15, 2018
It is well known that healthy eating increases a general sense of wellbeing. Researchers at Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg (FAU) have now discovered that a fibre-rich diet can have a positive influence ...

1 comment

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

Mayday
not rated yet Jul 01, 2014
I feel it my duty to point out that the favored alternative of drink-crawling can be even more dangerous, as the drink-crawler is far less visible in most high-traffic situations.

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.