"None for me, thanks"—social impact of changing alcohol habits

"None for me, thanks"—social impact of changing alcohol habits

Drinking alcohol is a large aspect of Australian culture but what happens when someone decides to stop drinking or cut back their alcohol consumption?

University of Adelaide School of Public Health PhD student, Ashlea Bartram, is exploring the social of people who have recently stopped or reduced their , with the aim of developing strategies to better support people making a change to their habits.

Ms Bartram says giving up, or reducing, is not a straightforward lifestyle change.

"Alcohol can play an important role in how people socialise with each other, but it can also have some negative consequences to people's health and wellbeing," says Ms Bartram.

"Because of the negative impacts, many established drinkers can be interested in reducing the amount they drink or, even stopping completely.

"However, for those whose social lives typically feature alcohol, making changes to their drinking may not only impact their own life, but also that of those around them – giving up drinking is not something that is done in isolation.

"Refusing a drink can come across as judgemental, rude or boring. Furthermore turning down a drink often has to come with a detailed explanation, but friends can also be a great source of support," she says.

Ms Bartram wants to hear about the experiences of people who have made a change to their drinking habits in an effort to better understand the social implications.

"There has been some research about the of youth and young adults who do not drink alcohol, but little is known about the experiences of adults who have more established social drinking patterns and choose to stop or reduce their alcohol consumption," says Ms Bartram.

"My research aims to understand the experiences of these and their strategies for managing any reactions," she says.

Study participants needed

People 25 years and over who have either stopped drinking, or cut back significantly, for at least three months in the past year are invited to participate in this interview study. Contact Ashlea.bartram@adelaide.edu.au or 08 8313 6880 for more information.


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