Australia’s Changing Relationship with Alcohol

There has been a steady decline in alcohol consumption in Australia over the past decade. It is important to understand what is encouraging individuals to change their drinking behaviour so as to support the maintenance of these positive trends into the future

A recent study, published in Alcohol and Alcoholism, has analysed drinking patterns across different age groups and sexes in Australia. Data, from Australia’s National Drug Strategy Household Survey, was collected every three years from 2001 to 2013. 

Results of the study show that young adults aged between 24 and 29 were the generational leaders in reducing alcohol intake. Males were more likely than females to report reducing their drinking behaviour, however females were more likely than males to report ceasing drinking altogether. Those in more disadvantaged neighbourhoods were more likely to report reducing and ceasing drinking.

With regards to the reasons for people modifying their drinking habits, older participants were more likely to describe reducing or ceasing alcohol for health benefits, whereas young people more commonly reported reducing or ceasing alcohol consumption for lifestyle and financial reasons. Females were more likely to reduce alcohol consumption for health reasons, whereas males were more likely to reduce alcohol consumption for lifestyle reasons.

It will be important to continue the longitudinal study in order to track the changing mood towards alcohol consumption, taking into account the environmental, social, economic and cultural factors at any point in time.

Pennay, A., Callinan, S., Livingston, M., Lubman, D. I., Holmes, J., MacLean, S., ... & Dietze, P. (2018). Patterns in Reduction or Cessation of Drinking in Australia (2001–2013) and Motivation for Change. Alcohol and Alcoholism.
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