Non-drinkers needed to understand drunk country
Whether we’re drinking, downing, sinking, sipping or slamming it – alcohol is a big part of Australian culture.
Almost everything we do is celebrated – or commiserated – with drinks, but what happens when someone decides to cuts back or stop consuming alcohol entirely?
A new research project seeks to explore the social experiences of people who have recently stopped or reduced their alcohol consumption, with the aim of developing strategies to better support people making a change to their drinking habits.
The project has been launched by University of Adelaide School of Public Health PhD student, Ashlea Bartram.
Ms Bartram says giving up, or reducing, alcohol drinking 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,” Ms Bartram says.
“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 social experiences 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 people and their strategies for managing any reactions,” she says.
Anybody 25 years and over who has either stopped drinking, or cut back significantly, for at least three months in the past year is invited to participate in the interview study.