Evaluating interventions, reviewing evidence and delivering original research into alcohol consumption and harm across a range of populations and settings.
Public Health Institute brings together intelligence from international, national and regional sources, to provide policymakers and practitioners with the latest evidence on policy, practice and interventions.
Both original (quantitative and qualitative) research and investigations into published literature and established datasets are used to understand a range of topics including the role of alcohol in society; the health and social impacts of alcohol on individuals, the workplace and communities; motivations for consumption; awareness of alcohol information; the relationship between alcohol, other substance use and health behaviours and the impacts of interventions (e.g. education, brief interventions).
Public Health Institute has conducted research with a variety of populations including the general public, underage and young adult drinkers and service providers, and specific vulnerable groups such as those in contact with services and people who are homeless. Research is conducted across various settings such as workplaces, schools and nightlife environments. Recent work has examined levels of alcohol consumption and alcohol-related harm; the effectiveness of interventions aimed at reducing such harms; youth drinking cultures and the influence of the media/marketing on young people’s decision making around alcohol use; alcohol use and pregnancy; street drinking; alcohol-related violence and the harms people experience as a result of other people’s alcohol consumption.
Alcohol Case Studies
Drink Less Enjoy More: a multi-component approach to addressing the sale of alcohol to drunks
The sale of alcohol to drunk people is illegal in the UK. Despite this, drunkenness is a common feature of nightlife settings, while public awareness of the law and bar staff compliance with it appears to be low. In 2013, …
Publications for Alcohol
Papers for Alcohol
‘If I don’t look good, it just doesn’t go up’: A qualitative study of young women’s drinking cultures and practices on Social Network Sites
Int J Drug Policy. 2016 Dec;38:50-62, 2016.
Abstract BACKGROUND: Young women in the UK often partake in a culture of intoxication in the pursuit of pleasure and friendship fun. Experiences of intoxication and drinking spaces remain highly gendered, and relative to men, women continue to find their behaviours in drinking spaces more constrained and scrutinised. Simultaneously, young women now express themselves via Social Network Sites (SNS), where they display drinking experiences and where they perform, negotiate and display contemporary femininities. METHODS: The research explored young women's experiences of drinking and intoxication, the use of SNS in their drinking cultures and the display of drinking practices on SNS through group interviews (n=12) with women (n=37) aged 16-21 from one city in the North-West of England, UK. RESULTS: The practice of uploading drinking photographs to SNS played an important role in displaying young women's popularity, enhancing friendship fun and belonging, and in positioning the hyper-sexual feminine look as the norm in drinking spaces. Both intoxication and the hyper-sexual and feminine look challenged traditional notions of respectable femininity, while the highly groomed feminine look itself was threatened by drunkenness. As such, young women invested much work and effort in self-surveillance and in managing the display of their drinking behaviours on SNS. CONCLUSION: The dilemmas in contemporary femininity created by the juxtaposition of hyper-sexual femininity and the culture of intoxication are reproduced on SNS. Controlling and restricting certain content on SNS with the aim of achieving the 'right' feminine self-presentation resulted in a narrowly set of body oriented and behavioural feminine attributes being presented as the norm, and an overly positive online representation of young women's drinking experiences.
An exploration of alcohol advertising on social networking sites: an analysis of content, interactions and young people’s perspectives
Addiction Research & Theory, 2016.
Abstract: Young people increasingly communicate and interact via social digital media such as Social Network Sites (SNS), where they discuss and display alcohol-related content. SNS have also become an important aspect of the alcohol industry’s multi-platform marketing strategies, which may contribute to the creation of intoxigenic digital spaces in which young people learn about alcohol. This paper presents findings of a content analysis of the extent, nature, and user interaction with SNS-based alcohol marketing for brands popular among young people in the UK. It provides a systematic analysis of both official and user generated marketing content on brand Facebook and Twitter profiles, and user interaction with such content. Findings from peer group interviews (N = 14) also present young people’s (N = 70) perspectives and experiences regarding alcohol marketing on SNS. New SNS engagement marketing strategies extended existing multi-platform brand marketing. Young people interacted with such strategies as part of their identity-making practices, yet through a discourse of immaturity distanced themselves from certain brands, online marketing practices and the idea that their own actions were influenced by marketing. Local night life economy marketing appeared more meaningful and relevant to young people and led to further interaction with brand marketing. Implications of the findings are discussed in relation to the influence of alcohol marketing on young people, and the implications for current regulatory frameworks.
Adolescents’ reflections on school-based alcohol education in the United Kingdom: education as usual compared with a structured harm reduction intervention
Séamus Harvey, Dr Michael McKay, Professor Harry Sumnall
Journal of Substance Use Volume 21, 2016 - Issue 6, 2016.
Abstract: Alcohol consumption by adolescents in the United Kingdom (UK) remains high. School-based interventions are expected to play a key role in preventing adolescent alcohol consumption. A series of focus groups were conducted with pupils who received alcohol education as usual and pupils who received a Northern Ireland adaptation of the School Health and Alcohol Harm Reduction Project (SHAHRP), a universal alcohol education program designed to reduce the harms experienced by young drinkers. This study sought to compare and contrast the participants’ engagement with and enjoyment of the different alcohol education that they had received. Focus groups were completed with 129 pupils in 16 schools in Northern Ireland and Scotland. Alcohol education as usual was viewed negatively and was regarded as unstructured, boring, repetitive, and unrealistic. In contrast, the adaptation of SHAHRP was viewed positively and was regarded as enjoyable and worthwhile, and engaging and relevant to the participants’ experiences of alcohol use. These findings suggest that one reason why alcohol education as usual may not be successful in preventing adolescent drinking and protecting adolescents from negative outcomes may be due to its failure to engage participants. Higher acceptability by pupils means that the adaptation of SHAHRP may be one viable alternative.