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N Z Med J. 1996 Sep 13;109(1029):337-9.

Public knowledge and attitudes towards the use of alcohol and drinking guidelines.

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Department of Psychological Medicine, Christchurch School of Medicine.



To investigate public knowledge and attitudes towards the use of alcohol with particular focus on drinking guidelines.


A telephone survey of 249 people randomly selected from the toll free area of Christchurch.


Three key findings were (1) not one respondent was able to quote drinking guidelines that included quantities of alcohol per occasion or quantities of alcohol per week; (2) the majority of the public (74%) thought drinking guidelines were not publicised well enough; and (3) young men (18-24 years) were significantly more likely to state incorrectly that greater than six standard drinks is a safe amount of alcohol to consume on social occasions.


More active promotion of drinking guidelines via the electronic and popular print media should be considered. Young men require particular attention related to drinking no more than six standard drinks per occasion of drinking as part of this initiative. Other studies targeting groups such as the more transient, different ethnic groups especially Maori and Pacific Islanders, health professionals and people with alcohol problems would be of interest, as well as a repeat of this study following an interim period in which active promotion of drinking guidelines is undertaken.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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