Temporary abstinence during Dry January: predictors of success; impact on well-being and self-efficacy



de Visser RO & Nicholls J (2020) Temporary abstinence during Dry January: predictors of success; impact on well-being and self-efficacy. Psychology and Health, 35 (11), pp. 1293-1305.

Background: Temporary alcohol abstinence conveys physiological benefits. Less well-known are its effects on well-being and general self-efficacy (GSE), and how use of support during alcohol abstinence challenges affects success rates. Methods: In this study, 4232 adults participating in ‘Dry January’ completed a baseline questionnaire and a 1-month follow-up questionnaire. Key follow-up variables related to whether respondents completed the abstinence challenge, their use of support provided by Dry January, and changes in well-being and GSE. Analyses also examined whether well-being and GSE explained variance in the likelihood of completing Dry January not accounted for by other variables known to be associated with successful attempts at Dry January. Results: Participation in Dry January was associated with increases in well-being and GSE among all respondents: these changes were larger among people who successfully completed the challenge. In multivariate analysis, greater use of email support was a significant independent correlate of completing Dry January. Conclusions: This paper adds to growing evidence that support provided through organised abstinence challenges is associated with changes in beliefs linked to harmful drinking. However, there is a need for further research to help us to understand what forms of support are most effective for different drinkers.

Alcohol; abstinence; well-being; prospective

Psychology and Health: Volume 35, Issue 11

FundersAlcohol Research UK
Publication date31/12/2020
Publication date online27/03/2020
Date accepted by journal12/02/2020
PublisherInforma UK Limited

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Dr James Nicholls

Dr James Nicholls

Senior Lecturer in Public Health, Health Sciences Stirling