Exploration of young adults’ influences on, and consequences of, avoiding alcohol consumption
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Background: There is a wealth of research on motives for alcohol consumption among young people. However, little is known about motives to avoid alcohol in this population. Objectives: The study purpose was to explore what influences young adults’ decisions to avoid alcohol and their motives to avoid alcohol. Methods: Face-to-face, semi-structured, one-on-one interviews were conducted in 2015 with young adults (n = 30, Mage = 21.13 years, SD = 2.05) living in Australia who did not consume alcohol regularly. Interviews were analyzed using thematic content analysis. Results: Thematic analysis resulted in seven themes: being in control; avoiding negative health consequences; taste; socialization influences; being left out; peer pressure; strategies to curb excessive alcohol consumption. Conclusions/Importance: Findings from the present study contribute to the literature in identifying coping strategies that participants adopted when faced with questions concerning their abstinence. The data provide evidence that, even in a minority, strong identities and beliefs appear to be a robust means to counteract pressure to conform to the social norm to consume alcohol. Findings may inform the (1) development of youth-centered interventions that target values and social norms to help build resistance to pressures to consume alcohol from peers and the wider community and (2) creation of opportunities and promotion of activities that are fun and alcohol free.
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