A new pilot study involving the University of Stirling has found that more than four in five people in the UK have experienced pressure from friends to consume alcohol.
A survey conducted in conjunction with the One Year No Beer campaign revealed that 85 percent of men and women had been encouraged by peers to take a drink – making it the number one influencing factor when it comes to drinking alcohol.
Half of the 1,697 people polled admitted to being pressured into drinking alcohol by colleagues and family, with two in five reported being encouraged by their partner.
Dr Stephan Dombrowski, a health psychologist in the Faculty of Natural Sciences, worked with One Year No Beer on the project.
OYNB co-founder Ruari Fairbairns said: “I know from personal experience how difficult it is to say ‘no’ when you are being badgered into having a drink. It’s easy to cave in under peer pressure when everyone around you is having a great time, getting stuck in.
“It’s expected of you to drink; it goes against the grain if you don’t. Why is it that it’s the people we all our friends who find it hardest of any of our relationships to accept when we say ‘no’?”
The research found that, generally, men felt coerced into drinking more often than women, with men 20 percent more likely to be encouraged into drinking by their colleagues and 37 percent more by their bosses.
Women reported feeling more pressure to drink from their partners – 22 percent more than men.
Adults aged between 18 and 45 felt more pressure to drink with friends than an older demographic, whereas, men aged 55 and older were 58 percent more likely to drink on their own.
In Scotland, nearly nine in 10 adults said that they had heard the, “Go on, just have the one”, line in their social lives and, if they chose to abstain, seven in 10 would be asked for an explanation for their lack of drinking.
However, compared to other regions in the UK, Scotland scored lower than any other area when questioned about peer pressure in relation to alcohol consumption.