Send to

Choose Destination
Addict Behav. 2017 Dec;75:40-46. doi: 10.1016/j.addbeh.2017.06.019. Epub 2017 Jun 30.

Motivations for reducing alcohol consumption: An international survey exploring experiences that may lead to a change in drinking habits.

Author information

Department of Psychology, Social Work and Public Health, Oxford Brookes University, Gipsy Lane, Oxford, UK. Electronic address:
Department of Psychological Sciences, Birkbeck University of London, UK.
Global Drug Survey, London, UK; University College London, UK.
Global Drug Survey, London, UK; Institute for Social Science Research, University of Queensland, Brisbane, Australia.



Brief interventions delivered by doctors and other healthcare practitioners might be meaningfully enhanced by understanding what individual experiences might lead patients to cut down. The aim of the current paper was to explore the experiences that might lead people to reduce their alcohol consumption and to compare these findings between respondents from 21 different countries.


Global Drug Survey is an online cross sectional, opportunistic anonymous survey. This paper includes 72,209 respondents from 21 counties with over 250 respondents (60.8% male).


Almost a third (32.9%) of participants reported that they would like to drink less alcohol over the next 12months, and a third thought their GP would tell them to cut down if they were honest about their drinking. The primary experiences that were rated as most likely to lead to a change in behaviour were related to physical health, sexual assault and having to seek emergency medical treatment. Respondents from Germany were more likely to select embarrassment as a motivation to reduce drinking than those from other counties. Females were more likely to report indicate motivations related to sexual regret, sexual assault or seeking treatment. Older participants and those in the low risk audit category were more likely to report embarrassment or forgetfulness as potential motivation for change.


Understanding the different motivations that may lead individuals to change their drinking behaviours can be used to inform targeted brief interventions and targeted public health guidance.


Alcohol; Behaviour change; Brief interventions; Reducing drinking

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Elsevier Science
Loading ...
Support Center