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Drinking to belong - JRF report on alcohol and decision-making

Date: November 2010
Category: Report
Author: Pete Seaman & Theresa Ikegwuonu

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This report explores young adults’ decision-making around alcohol against a cultural backdrop of historically high levels of consumption,
affordability and availability in the UK.

How young people drink alcohol underpins rates of harm, which
have been rising steadily in recent decades. Understanding the meaning and motivation behind young adults’ drinking habits will
help predict future need. Policy-makers and health educationalists
will be better informed to develop responses that make sense to younger drinkers. This report identifies the influence of both existing cultural attitudes around alcohol, and new and emergent attitudes that separate younger drinkers’ consumption from that of other age groups.

The report highlights:
• a norm for excessive alcohol consumption in young adulthood;
• how today’s young adults find it diffi cult to imagine alternatives to the excessive drinking that supports group socialising;
• how the commercial alcohol offer made to young people contributes to the narrowing of their options; and
• the influences of pricing on decision-making.