Format

Send to

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
Addiction. 2015 Dec;110(12):1912-9. doi: 10.1111/add.13072. Epub 2015 Aug 22.

Lay epidemiology and the interpretation of low-risk drinking guidelines by adults in the United Kingdom.

Author information

1
School of Health and Related Research, University of Sheffield, Sheffield, UK.
2
UK Centre for Tobacco and Alcohol Studies, Nottingham, UK.
3
Institute for Social Marketing, University of Stirling, Stirling, UK.

Abstract

AIMS:

To explore how the concept of lay epidemiology can enhance understandings of how drinkers make sense of current UK drinking guidelines.

METHODS:

Qualitative study using 12 focus groups in four sites in northern England and four sites in central Scotland. Participants were 66 male and female drinkers, aged between 19 and 65 years, of different socio-economic backgrounds. Data were analysed thematically using a conceptual framework of lay epidemiology.

RESULTS:

Current drinking guidelines were perceived as having little relevance to participants' drinking behaviours and were generally disregarded. Daily guidelines were seen as irrelevant by drinkers whose drinking patterns comprised heavy weekend drinking. The amounts given in the guidelines were seen as unrealistic for those motivated to drink for intoxication, and participants measured alcohol intake in numbers of drinks or containers rather than units. Participants reported moderating their drinking, but this was out of a desire to fulfil work and family responsibilities, rather than concerns for their own health. The current Australian and Canadian guidelines were preferred to UK guidelines, as they were seen to address many of the above problems.

CONCLUSIONS:

Drinking guidelines derived from, and framed within, solely epidemiological paradigms lack relevance for adult drinkers who monitor and moderate their alcohol intake according to their own knowledge and risk perceptions derived primarily from experience. Insights from lay epidemiology into how drinkers regulate and monitor their drinking should be used in the construction of drinking guidelines to enhance their credibility and efficacy.

KEYWORDS:

Alcohol; drinking guidelines; drinking practices; lay epidemiology; qualitative; units

PMID:
26212155
PMCID:
PMC4862022
DOI:
10.1111/add.13072
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

0 comments
How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Full text links

    Icon for Wiley Icon for PubMed Central
    Loading ...
    Support Center