Being a non-drinking student: An interpretative phenomenological analysis

Article


Conroy, D. and de Visser, Richard 2013. Being a non-drinking student: An interpretative phenomenological analysis. Psychology and Health. 29 (5), pp. 536-551.
AuthorsConroy, D. and de Visser, Richard
Abstract

Recent research suggests that safer student alcohol consumption might be assisted by understanding how social occasions are managed by non-drinkers. In-depth, semi-structured interviews with five 19 – 22 year old non-drinking English undergraduates were subjected to interpretative phenomenological analysis. We present five inter-linked themes: ‘living with challenges to non-drinking’; ‘seeing what goes on in drinking environments’; ‘dealing with conversations about non-drinking (making excuses vs. coming out)’; ‘knowing which friends care about you’; and ‘the importance of minimising “legroom” for peer pressure’. Participants felt under persistent peer scrutiny (as a form of peer pressure) and could feel alienated in drinking environments. Talking about non-drinking was characterised by whether to ‘come out’ (as a non-drinker) or ‘fake it’ (e.g. ‘I’m on antibiotics’). Loyal friendships were reported as particularly important in this context. The decision not to drink was experienced as providing a successful buffer to peer pressure for former drinkers. Our findings unsettle traditional health promotion campaigns which advocate moderate drinking among students without always suggesting how it might be most successfully accomplished and offer tentative guidance on how non-drinking during specific social occasions might be managed more successfully. Findings are discussed in relation to extant literature and future research directions are suggested.

JournalPsychology and Health
Journal citation29 (5), pp. 536-551
ISSN0887-0446
Year2013
PublisherTaylor & Francis for the European Health Psychology Society
Accepted author manuscript
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)doi:10.1080/08870446.2013.866673
Web address (URL)https://doi.org/10.1080/08870446.2013.866673
Publication dates
Online19 Dec 2013
Publication process dates
Deposited04 Apr 2018
Accepted12 Nov 2013
Accepted12 Nov 2013
Copyright informationThis is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in Psychology & Health on 19.12.13, available online: http://www.tandfonline.com/10.1080/08870446.2013.866673
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