The influence of groups and alcohol consumption on individual risk-taking

Erskine-Shaw, Marianne and Monk, Rebecca and Qureshi, Adam and Heim, Derek (2017) The influence of groups and alcohol consumption on individual risk-taking. Drug and Alcohol Dependence, 179. pp. 341-346. ISSN 0376-8716

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BACKGROUND: Research addressing the influence of alcohol and groups on risky behaviour has yielded contradictory findings regarding the extent to which intoxicated groups exaggerate or minimise risk-taking. Previous work has examined the effect of intoxication on risk-taking focusing on collective group decision-making, and to date the influence of alcohol consumption and groups on individual risk-taking has yet to be explored experimentally. The current study therefore examined the impact of intoxication and groups on individual risk-taking. METHODS: In a mixed design, 99 social drinkers (62 female) attended an experimental session individually (N=48) or in groups of three (N=51). Individuals completed the study in isolation while groups were tested in the same room. Participants completed two behavioural measures of risk-taking: Balloon Analogue Risk Task (BART) and Stoplight Task (SLT), both before and following consumption of an alcoholic (0.6g/kg males, 0.5g/kg females) or a placebo beverage. RESULTS: Those who participated in groups took significantly more risks in both tasks than those in isolation. Alcohol did not increase risk-taking on either risk-taking tasks. However, those who consumed placebo were significantly less risky on the SLT, compared to baseline. No interactions were found between context and beverage on risk-taking. CONCLUSION: The findings do not support a combined effect of alcohol and groups on individual risk-taking. Rather, results indicate that risk-taking behaviour is influenced by peer presence regardless of alcohol consumption. Targeting the influence of groups (above those of alcohol) may hold promise for reducing risk-taking behaviours in drinking environments.

Item Type:
Journal Article
Journal or Publication Title:
Drug and Alcohol Dependence
Additional Information:
This is the author’s version of a work that was accepted for publication in Drug and Alcohol Dependence. Changes resulting from the publishing process, such as peer review, editing, corrections, structural formatting, and other quality control mechanisms may not be reflected in this document. Changes may have been made to this work since it was submitted for publication. A definitive version was subsequently published in Drug and Alcohol Dependence, 179, 2017 DOI: 10.1016/j.drugalcdep.2017.07.032
Uncontrolled Keywords:
?? alcoholsocialgroupscontactrisk-takingpsychiatry and mental healthtoxicologypharmacologypharmacology (medical) ??
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Deposited On:
10 Jan 2018 13:30
Last Modified:
17 Jul 2024 23:40