SOURCE: Addiction, news release, March 2, 2015
TUESDAY, March 10, 2015 (HealthDay News) -- 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.
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 behavior, 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.
The U.S. National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism offers tips for cutting down on drinking.