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Drinking in social groups. Does 'groupdrink' provide safety in numbers when deciding about risk?

Hopthrow, Tim, Randsley de Moura, Georgina, Meleady, Rose, Abrams, Dominic, Swift, Hannah J. (2014) Drinking in social groups. Does 'groupdrink' provide safety in numbers when deciding about risk? Addiction, 109 (6). pp. 913-921. ISSN 1360-0443. (doi:10.1111/add.12496) (KAR id:41113)



A 2 (alcohol: consuming versus not consuming alcohol) x 2 (decision: individual, group) mixed-model design; decision was a repeated measure. The dependent variable was risk preference, measured using choice dilemmas.


A total of 101 individuals were recruited from groups of four to six people who either were or were not consuming alcohol.


Five three-level multi-level models were specified in the software program HLM 7. Decisions made in groups were less risky than those made individually (B = -0.73, P < 0.001). Individual alcohol consumers opted for higher risk than non-consumers (B = 1.27, P = 0.025). A significant alcohol?×?decision interaction (B = -2.79, P = 0.001) showed that individual consumers privately opted for higher risk than non-consumers, whereas risk judgements made in groups of either consumers or non-consumers were lower. Decisions made by groups of consumers were less risky than those made by groups of non-consumers (B = 1.23, P < 0.001).


Moderate alcohol consumption appears to produce a propensity among individuals towards increased risk-taking in deciding to drive while intoxicated, which can be mitigated by group monitoring processes within small (four- to six-person) groups.

Item Type: Article
DOI/Identification number: 10.1111/add.12496
Uncontrolled keywords: Alcohol; decision making; field study; groups; group processes; multi-level model; risk; social drinking
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
Divisions: Faculties > Social Sciences > School of Psychology > Social Psychology
Depositing User: Tim Hopthrow
Date Deposited: 21 May 2014 15:26 UTC
Last Modified: 25 Apr 2020 03:05 UTC
Resource URI: (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)
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