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Addict Behav. 2007 Mar;32(3):491-504. Epub 2006 Jul 18.

Pastime in a pub: observations of young adults' activities and alcohol consumption.

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  • 1Behavioural Science Institute, Radboud University Nijmegen, P.O. Box 9104, 6500 HE Nijmegen, The Netherlands.


Alcohol consumption typically takes place in a time-out situation, which can be spent by engaging in several leisure time activities. Usually, conversation is the dominant pastime in a bar, but this may take place during other activities, like watching TV or playing games. These activities may inhibit drinking because of the physical difficulties of drinking and being active at the same time. Findings of an observational study on drinking in young adults (N=238) in a bar lab will be discussed. In the present study, we followed the ad-lib drinking of peer groups (7-9 persons) during 1-h periods. The results suggest that (1) selection of activities is not related to initial drinking level or personality characteristics; (2) active pastime is related to slower drinking than passive pastime (in males); (3) male problem drinkers appear to compensate for the "lost" amount of drinking after an active phase; and (4) involvement in active pastime is not related to total alcohol consumption. Implications of these findings are discussed.

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