Individual behaviour can be affected by environmental and peer influences including offers of alcohol, modeling of heavy drinking behaviour and perceived social norms (Borsari & Carey, 2001). People’s perceptions of the acceptability and prevalence of risky drinking patterns may influence their own drinking intentions and behaviour (Rimal & Real, 2005). Peer influences and the perception of peer support can help people to moderate or cut back on their drinking.
The Health Promotion Agency (HPA) develops information, advice, research and resources to help prevent and reduce alcohol-related harm and inspire New Zealanders to make better decisions about drinking alcohol.1 This fact sheet reports on New Zealand adults’ experiences and expectations relating to behaviour and pressures in drinking environments.
The 2014/15 Attitudes and Behaviour towards Alcohol Survey (2014/15 ABAS) asked three questions that assessed people’s experiences with the drinking culture in New Zealand. Responses to each of the three perception questions asked were collected on a five-point scale ranging from ‘strongly agree’ to ‘strongly disagree’.
The responses of adults aged 18-years-and-over (n=3,812) were analysed. Responses were first compared by gender, ethnicity and age group (while controlling for the other demographic factors). Statistically significant differences (p<.05) between subgroups are reported in cases where the differences remained significant after accounting for other factors. Secondly, responses were compared by all demographic factors and by risky drinking (defined as having consumed seven or more drinks on an occasion in the past month). If differences were no longer significant after risky drinking was included, this is noted in the text.
• One in three adults agreed that in some situations it was hard to say they were not drinking.
• Just over one in three adults felt that the people they knew would listen if they made suggestions about cutting back on drinking alcohol.
• Nearly half of all adults agreed that they no longer went to certain places due to others’ drinking behaviour.
• By subgroup, responses varied most by age. Younger adults were more likely to agree that there were some situations in which they found it hard to say they were not drinking. On the other hand, they also agreed more that their friends and family might listen to them if they suggested cutting back on drinking.