Third of adults ‘feel pressured to drink alcohol while socialising’

Many people say they’ve cancelled social plans to avoid the pressure to drink (
Many people say they’ve cancelled social plans to avoid the pressure to drink (

Three in 10 adults feel pressured to drink alcohol when socialising, according to research.

A study of 2,000 adults, who consume alcohol, revealed 28 per cent have made excuses to avoid drinking.

And 43 per cent admitted to cancelling social plans to avoid the pressure of drinking alcohol altogether.

Of those most likely to persuade others to have an unplanned tipple, friends are worst (33 per cent), followed by their partner (30 per cent).

While others have faced pressure at weddings (24 per cent) and work events (22 per cent).

But for the 28 per cent, who have made up excuses to avoid an alcoholic drink, 38 per cent put it down to having an early start the next day, while 32 per cent claim to be on medication.

And three in 10 tell others they’re the designated driver, even if they’re not, with a fifth lying about wanting to take a break from booze.

However, the real reasons people have chosen not to drink alcohol included wanting to wake up feeling refreshed the next day (32 per cent), getting a better night’s sleep (26 per cent), and trying to live a healthier lifestyle (25 per cent).

Dr Martha Newson, a psychologist specialising in human behaviour who has partnered with non-alcoholic wine drink McGuigan Zero, which commissioned the research, said: “If you’ve ever made up an excuse to not drink alcohol, you’re in good company.

“The research found that people tend to rely on excuses that are functional, such as having work the next day or driving, placing responsibility outside of their control.

“Interestingly however, the true reasons that people reported not drinking alcohol were embedded in self-awareness and personal development, such as health, sleep and wellbeing.”

The study also found a quarter of those who have felt pressure to ditch plans to stay on the soft drinks find birthday parties are where they have encountered the most pressure from others.

While 24 per cent had an issue at a Christmas shindig.

It also emerged 59 per cent of those polled, via OnePoll, already do or would consider drinking a no or low alcohol beverage.

And beer, wine and mocktails are among the most common drinks respondents have tried.

Sober curious celebrity Louise Redknapp said: “Let’s be honest, when we’re not drinking alcohol at a social occasion, we all feel the need to explain ourselves, make excuses and apologise to our friends and family for not ‘being fun’.

“But it’s time to say no to the peer pressure.

’’With so many amazing no and low alcohol alternatives on offer, our drinking culture needs to change.

“So, for whatever reason you’re choosing not to drink this festive season, lean into your decision and I’m with you all the way.”

A spokesperson for McGuigan Zero, said: “Our research has shown that nearly 60 per cent of people already do or would consider drinking no or low alcohol drinks.

“It’s now a way of living for a lot of people.

‘’We’re passionate about giving people the tools to feel confident when choosing not to drink and McGuigan Zero allows you to still feel like you’re the life of the party, without the consequences the next day.”