Non-drinkers more socially competent - but strange, Sussex study finds

The Argus: Brighton students drinking at this year's Carnage pub crawl Brighton students drinking at this year's Carnage pub crawl

Students who do not touch alcohol on a night out or at a party are perceived to be more socially competent than those who drink, Sussex researchers have found.

The results of the study by the University of Sussex could help health campaigners to promote non-drinking as a lifestyle choice among students.

University psychology doctoral researcher Dominic Conroy carried out detailed interviews with 12 students aged 20 to 29 about their drinking habits and their perception of the drinking habits of others.

In response to discussions about non-drinkers, the participants revealed they considered non-drinkers as “something strange, requiring explanation”.

They also viewed non-drinkers as “simultaneously unsociable, yet reflecting greater sociability”.

They also felt non-drinking held greater negative consequences for men than for women.

Mr Conroy said: “Drinking in social contexts is considered to be a key feature of British culture.

“While non-drinkers are sometimes regarded as boring and anti-social, the study revealed an alternative view.

“Non-drinkers are also be seen to be more socially competent than drinkers – or ‘the lucky ones’ - because they can enjoy social experiences without needing alcohol.

“What makes non-drinking less appealing to male students is the fear of losing friends. It appears to carry significant social costs.

“Casting non-drinking individuals as more social than drinkers suggests one route that health promotion campaigns could take to encourage a more positive view of non-drinking among men.”

Comments (1)

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8:40am Thu 5 Dec 13

pachallis says...

Is 12 a statistically valid sample size for the student population? How were the 12 selected?

Sounds more like a "Vox pop" rather than a proper study and of no real scientific value.
Is 12 a statistically valid sample size for the student population? How were the 12 selected? Sounds more like a "Vox pop" rather than a proper study and of no real scientific value. pachallis

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