Young men's ambivalence toward alcohol

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de Visser, Richard O ; Smith, Jonathan A (2007)

There is widespread concern about the health and social consequences of excessive alcohol consumption among young men. Interventions to reduce alcohol-related harm will be affected by ambivalence toward alcohol, because ambivalent attitudes are worse predictors of behaviour than are homogeneous attitudes. It is therefore important to identify aspects of alcohol consumption about which young men are not ambivalent. In-depth interviews were conducted with a socioeconomically diverse sample of 31 men, aged 18–21 living in London, UK. Ambivalence toward alcohol was widespread. None of the drinkers who were interviewed had uncomplicated positive evaluations of drinking: all mentioned compelling reasons not to drink. Most motives for drinking were also identified as reasons for not drinking if consumption became excessive. However, three motives for not drinking were not also motives for drinking: violence, alcoholism, and cost. These findings should be considered during the design of interventions to reduce the health and social consequences of excessive alcohol consumption amongst young men.
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