11 March 2015

It's a fact: we get drunker when we drink with others

A new study confirms that the number of friends in your drinking party influences how much you drink and men are particularly guilty of the peer pressure to drink more.


The number of friends in your drinking group influences how much you drink, a new study finds.

Researchers focused on 200 young adult drinkers in Switzerland. While drinking with friends in real-life situations, they used their smartphones to provide researchers with hourly reports about how many friends were present and how many drinks they had consumed.

As the number of friends increased, so did the number of drinks the participants had in an hour. This effect was stronger in men than in women, according to the study published recently in the journal Addiction.

ReadAlcohol hits women harder

The findings suggest this is an area that should be targeted in efforts to reduce drinking among young adults, the researchers said.

They noted that most drinking among young people is social, and that peer pressure has long been known to be an important factor in their use of alcohol and other substances.

While previous studies have suggested that being with others affects drinking behaviour, most of those studies involved experiments in laboratories or surveys conducted after drinking sessions were over and are unreliable, the authors of the new study said.

Read more:

Physical and psychological effects of alcohol

The causes of alcohol-related aggression

Alcohol's effect on the brain

Image: drinking together, Shutterstock

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