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Binge drinkers who feel regret less likely to repeat behaviour

People who binge-drink are less likely to do so again if they feel regret for their actions, suggests a study by psychologist Dr Richard Cooke of Aston University in Birmingham.

Working in collaboration with Dr Falko Sniehotta of Aberdeen University and Dr Benjamin Schuz of Free University Berlin, Dr Cooke sampled 178 Scottish students for the study, which is the first of its kind to be carried out in the UK.

The results showed that participants who felt regret at their previous drinking behaviour were less likely to intend to binge-drink in the future.

‘Before embarking on this research I was keen to find out motivations that would make people limit their drinking. Interestingly out of the studies already available on binge drinking and the fact that it is a growing problem within the UK, none of the studies had focused on the impact regret has on binge drinking,’ said Dr Cooke.

‘The study suggests that modifying attitudes and inducing regret may be effective strategies for reducing binge-drinking intentions among undergraduates, which should reduce subsequent binge-drinking behaviour,’ he continued.

The research was carried out through students completing a questionnaire regarding their previous drinking habits, their future drinking habits and subsequent feelings of regret. 64 per cent of these students admitted to binge drinking at least once within the last week. A week following this questionnaire they were asked to complete another which focused on their drinking behaviour during the previous week.

According to the Office of National Statistics, 37 per cent of men aged 16-24 put away the equivalent of more than four pints in a typical session, with 23 per cent of women sinking at least three, thus exceeding government guidelines on safe daily drinking levels.*

Dr Richard Cooke recently revealed his findings at the Division of Health Psychology Annual Conference at the University of Nottingham.

Hannah Brookes | alfa
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