Telling students not to ‘down’ alcohol makes them drink more, new research suggests.
Disapproving of drinking alcohol in one go, known as ‘bolting’, makes people more inclined to gulp their booze, a study review found.
Warning others about the dangers of downing drinks has no effect on the likelihood they will do it, the research adds.
Yet, telling them that most people do not bolt drinks on a night out does reduce the risk they will, the study found.
Study author Professor Charles Abraham from the University of Exeter, said: ‘This demonstrates how careful we need to be in selecting the right message in campaigns, and evaluating them before wider dissemination, as poorly designed campaigns, however well-intentioned, can backfire.’
Telling people not to ‘down’ alcohol makes them drink more, new research suggests (stock)
TEENAGERS ARE LESS LIKELY TO BINGE DRINK IF THEIR PARENTS SHOW DISAPPROVAL
Teenagers are less likely to drink if their parents show disapproval, research revealed last month.
Study author Ms Jacqueline Bowden from the University of Adelaide, said: ‘Parents have more influence on their teenagers’ decisions regarding alcohol than they probably realise.
‘Parental behaviour and attitudes towards alcohol really do make a difference and can help prevent children from drinking at an early age.’
Mr Lincoln Size, chief executive cancer council SA, who supported the study, added: ‘This latest evidence highlights the need to educate young people about the consequences of alcohol consumption and for parents to demonstrate responsible drinking behaviour.
‘We need to get the message through that what may be considered harmless fun actually has lifelong consequences.’
How the study was carried out
Researchers from the universities of Exeter and Queensland analysed three studies with a total of 221 participants.
Some of the study’s participants saw a poster saying that 70 percent of peers ‘disapprove of bolting’ and 65 percent ‘do not bolt drinks on a night out’.
All of the participants then completed a questionnaire that assessed their perception of bolting and how likely they are to do it.
Disapproving of bolting makes people more likely to do it
Results reveal being told others disapprove of downing drinks makes people more inclined to do it.
Being warned about the dangers of bolting has no effect on a person’s likelihood of gulping their drink in one.
Yet, telling people that most do not bolt drinks on a night out makes them less likely to do it.
‘This demonstrates how careful we need to be in selecting the right message’
Study author Dr Joanne Smith from the University of Exeter, said: ‘Our results highlight the potentially harmful effects of exposure to what’s called an “injunctive norm” – a message about the approval or disapproval of others.
‘Meanwhile, a “descriptive norm” – telling people what others do rather than what they think – had a positive impact.
Professor Abraham said: ‘This demonstrates how careful we need to be in selecting the right message in campaigns, and evaluating them before wider dissemination, as poorly designed campaigns, however well-intentioned, can backfire.’
The findings were published in the journal Addiction Research and Theory.