An exploration of cross-national differences in the drinking behaviour of Italians and English: A multi-method exploratory study

Perrino, Luisa (2017) An exploration of cross-national differences in the drinking behaviour of Italians and English: A multi-method exploratory study. Doctoral thesis, University of West London.

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Abstract

Introduction: A range of factors including individual, socio-cognitive, political and those relating to geographical location provide important contexts for understanding influences on drinking behaviour. The relationship between these factors is an area that has been under-researched, so too are comparisons between the drinking behaviour of people in different cultural contexts. This is important when national rates of average alcohol suggest that lessons can be learned from countries with relatively low levels of alcohol consumption. The research reported in this thesis provides an in-depth exploratory analysis of individuals’ experiences of drinking in Italy and England, and investigates a range of motivations to drink alcohol, including, motives to drink, alcohol outcome expectancies and factors which promote drinking in moderation or abstention.

Methods and participants: This research adopted a mixed methods design comprised of two studies. In the first study, a qualitative approach was adopted to explore the experience of n=24 social drinkers based in Italy and England. The second study used a quantitative approach and involved an overall total of n=403 (inclusive of abstainers) participants in Italy and England, who were asked to complete a battery of questionnaires to assess alcohol intake and a range of measures related to drinking behaviour.

Findings: National differences were demonstrated for Italian and English respondents. Key findings were that English respondents were more likely to associate drinking with positive outcome expectancies, and were more likely to see drinking as a means of coping. Findings for the Italian sample suggested that drinking was linked to positive perceived parental attitude, self-perception / monitoring expectancies, and conformity; all these factors appeared to reduce levels of alcohol intake. Abstention and limiting factors suggested that ‘indifference towards’ alcohol was important for Italian abstainers when compared to limiters and to heavier drinkers. Additionally, outcomes for English abstainers suggested that indifference towards alcohol, family constraint, and religious constraint, were deciding factors that play a part in an individuals’ decision not to drink alcohol.

Conclusion: The differences between the drinking patterns of Italian and English drinkers is complex and context specific. However, emerging from this research are key areas for informing policy which seek to promote levels and patterns of safe drinking. Following findings on the relationship between the “drinking to cope” motive and rising unitary intake in the English sample, it is suggested that further lines of research could explore using mindfulness techniques to enhance coping strategies in people who drink excessively.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Subjects: Psychology > Substance abuse/misuse
Depositing User: Kevin Sanders
Date Deposited: 21 Mar 2018 08:34
Last Modified: 21 Mar 2018 08:34
URI: http://repository.uwl.ac.uk/id/eprint/4752

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