Peer pressure pushes Scots towards alcohol
Queen attends Crathie Kirk Fear of appearing boring or of missing out also cited
Nearly eight in nine people in Scotland have been pressured into drinking alcohol by friends, according to a new survey.
The pilot study of 1,697 adults across the UK and Ireland, including 521 in Scotland, found peer pressure was the number one influencing factor for those being encouraged to drink.
A total of 83% of respondents in Scotland said friends had urged them to drink, with being told “Go on, just have the one” the most common method of persuasion.
One in seven teetotallers were asked if there was something wrong due to refusing alcohol.
The greatest concern for Scottish respondents abstaining from drinking was the fear of appearing boring, at 60%, on a par with elsewhere in the UK.
However, fear of being left out was greater in Scotland than the UK average, at 50% compared with 36%.
Researchers found one in three Scottish men felt vulnerable when sober on the dance floor, compared with just 12% across the UK.
Nearly 80% of Scottish respondents reported social events as the top trigger for drinking, 4% above the UK average.
In Scotland, men were 18% more likely than women to be pressed into drinking by friends, increasing to 20% at social events.
One in ten women north of the border had been pushed into drinking by their bosses.
Scottish respondents were half as likely to feel pressured to drink alone, at 14%, compared with the UK average of 30%.
Other situations where Scots felt less pressure to drink than the UK average was during holidays and in the sun.
The survey was carried out by the One Year No Beer campaign in collaboration with the University of Stirling.
Campaign co-founder Ruari Fairbairns said: “I know from personal experience how difficult it is to say no when you are being badgered by your friends into having an alcoholic drink.
“And it’s easy to cave in under peer pressure when everyone around you is having a great time getting stuck in.
“It’s somehow expected of you to drink – it goes against the grain if you don’t.
“Why is it that it’s the people we call our friends who find it hardest of any of our relationships to accept it when we say no to alcohol? This can’t be the right way.”