Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Binge drinking due to ‘copying’ behaviour

25.06.2008
The rise in binge drinking in the young is a “fashion phenomenon” where drinkers are copying their associates’ behaviour, new research has shown.

A study conducted at Durham University’s Institute of Advanced Study and Volterra Consulting UK shows that social networking is a key factor in the spread of the rapid consumption of large amounts of alcohol – binge drinking - which is blamed for serious anti-social and criminal behaviour.

Researchers say the findings have major implications for Government policy makers charged with tackling the problem, which has longer-term and costly health implications for the nation.

The research team, which estimates there are least one million binge drinkers in the 18-24 year old population participating in 1.5 million binge drinking events each week, used complex modelling techniques and interviews with 504 18-24 year olds to draw their conclusions.

Binge drinkers were defined as participants who got drunk on three or more drinks (women) or on four or more drinks (men) at least once a week, or having ten or more drinks but not necessarily getting drunk at least once a week (both men and women). Using this criteria, nearly one-fifth (16.2 per cent) of the young people surveyed were classed as binge drinkers.

Everyone in the survey was asked whether about the drinking behaviour of their friends, family and colleagues. Binge drinkers were more likely to describe their associates, particularly their friends, as fellow binge drinkers.

For example, 85 per cent of the binge drinkers thought that all, almost all or most of their friends are binge drinkers, compared to 41 per cent of non-binge drinkers who described all, almost all or most of their friends as binge drinkers.

Conversely, only three per cent of binge drinkers had no or hardly any friends that binge drank, compared to 22 per cent of non binge drinkers.

The second part of the research set out to test whether ‘imitation behaviour’ or copying was sufficient to account for the binge drinking through applying a series of models.

It found that the ‘small world’ model, showing the interaction between overlapping friendship groups, best explained the statistics for the first part of the research. This suggests complex social networking and the behaviour exhibited through this is the root cause of binge drinking.

Researchers say these findings pose challenges for policy makers in terms of identifying where and at whom to target their policies - they would need to tap into a series of complex friendship networks for their efforts to have any effect. However, if they could achieve this, triggering a reverse in binge drinking behaviour, the effect would be quite dramatic.

The research is published online via an open access website http://arxiv.org/ (which is authored refereed before posting).

Lead author, Paul Ormerod, of Durham University’s Institute of Advanced Study and Volterra Consulting UK, said: “Binge drinking has become widespread among young people in Britain. Vomiting, collapsing in the street, shouting and chanting loudly, intimidating passers-by and fighting are now regular night-time features of many British towns and cities.

“A particularly disturbing aspect is the huge rise in drunken and anti-social behaviour amongst young females.

“We show that the rise in binge drinking is a fashion-related phenomenon, with imitative behaviour spreading across social networks, is sufficient to account for observed patterns of binge drinking behaviour.

“This discovery is helpful to policy makers as it suggests, for example, that strategies based on the concept that there is a small number of ‘influentials’ who are important in the spread of anti-social behaviour are not likely to be very successful.”

Claire Whitelaw | alfa
Further information:
http://www.dur.ac.uk/ias/
http://www.volterra.co.uk/
http://arxiv.org/ftp/arxiv/papers/0806/0806.3176.pdf

More articles from Social Sciences:

nachricht The transparent soccer player
05.06.2018 | Technische Universität München

nachricht Illinois researchers researchers find tweeting in cities lower than expected
21.02.2018 | University of Illinois College of Engineering

All articles from Social Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Temperature-controlled fiber-optic light source with liquid core

In a recent publication in the renowned journal Optica, scientists of Leibniz-Institute of Photonic Technology (Leibniz IPHT) in Jena showed that they can accurately control the optical properties of liquid-core fiber lasers and therefore their spectral band width by temperature and pressure tuning.

Already last year, the researchers provided experimental proof of a new dynamic of hybrid solitons– temporally and spectrally stationary light waves resulting...

Im Focus: Overdosing on Calcium

Nano crystals impact stem cell fate during bone formation

Scientists from the University of Freiburg and the University of Basel identified a master regulator for bone regeneration. Prasad Shastri, Professor of...

Im Focus: AchemAsia 2019 will take place in Shanghai

Moving into its fourth decade, AchemAsia is setting out for new horizons: The International Expo and Innovation Forum for Sustainable Chemical Production will take place from 21-23 May 2019 in Shanghai, China. With an updated event profile, the eleventh edition focusses on topics that are especially relevant for the Chinese process industry, putting a strong emphasis on sustainability and innovation.

Founded in 1989 as a spin-off of ACHEMA to cater to the needs of China’s then developing industry, AchemAsia has since grown into a platform where the latest...

Im Focus: First real-time test of Li-Fi utilization for the industrial Internet of Things

The BMBF-funded OWICELLS project was successfully completed with a final presentation at the BMW plant in Munich. The presentation demonstrated a Li-Fi communication with a mobile robot, while the robot carried out usual production processes (welding, moving and testing parts) in a 5x5m² production cell. The robust, optical wireless transmission is based on spatial diversity; in other words, data is sent and received simultaneously by several LEDs and several photodiodes. The system can transmit data at more than 100 Mbit/s and five milliseconds latency.

Modern production technologies in the automobile industry must become more flexible in order to fulfil individual customer requirements.

Im Focus: Sharp images with flexible fibers

An international team of scientists has discovered a new way to transfer image information through multimodal fibers with almost no distortion - even if the fiber is bent. The results of the study, to which scientist from the Leibniz-Institute of Photonic Technology Jena (Leibniz IPHT) contributed, were published on 6thJune in the highly-cited journal Physical Review Letters.

Endoscopes allow doctors to see into a patient’s body like through a keyhole. Typically, the images are transmitted via a bundle of several hundreds of optical...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Munich conference on asteroid detection, tracking and defense

13.06.2018 | Event News

2nd International Baltic Earth Conference in Denmark: “The Baltic Sea region in Transition”

08.06.2018 | Event News

ISEKI_Food 2018: Conference with Holistic View of Food Production

05.06.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Graphene assembled film shows higher thermal conductivity than graphite film

22.06.2018 | Materials Sciences

Fast rising bedrock below West Antarctica reveals an extremely fluid Earth mantle

22.06.2018 | Earth Sciences

Zebrafish's near 360 degree UV-vision knocks stripes off Google Street View

22.06.2018 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>