Four in five Scots adults ‘pressured into drinking alcohol by friends’

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More than 80 per cent of adults in Scotland have been pressured into drinking alcohol by friends, according to a new survey.

The pilot study of 1,697 adults across the UK and Ireland, including 521 in Scotland, found peer pressure was the number one influencing factor for those being encouraged to drink.

More people in Scotland than anywhere else in the UK have  worried they will be 'left out' if they do not drink alcohol at a social occasion. Picture: Wavebreakmedia

More people in Scotland than anywhere else in the UK have worried they will be 'left out' if they do not drink alcohol at a social occasion. Picture: Wavebreakmedia

A total of 83 per cent of respondents in Scotland said friends had urged them to drink, with being told “Go on, just have the one” the most common method of persuasion.

Among teetotallers, around 70 per cent were asked if there was something wrong due to refusing alcohol.

The greatest concern for Scottish respondents abstaining from drinking was the fear of appearing boring, at 60 per cent, on a par with elsewhere in the UK. However, fear of being left out was greater in Scotland than the UK average, at 50 per cent compared with 36 per cent.

Researchers found one in three Scottish men felt vulnerable on the dance floor sober, compared with just 12 per cent across the UK.

Nearly 80 per cent of Scottish respondents reported social events as the top trigger for drinking, 4 per cent above the UK average.

In Scotland, men were 18 per cent more likely than women to be pressed into drinking by friends, increasing to 20 per cent at social events.

One in ten women north of the Border had been pushed into drinking by their bosses.

Scottish respondents were half as likely to feel pressured to drink alone, at 14 per cent, compared with the UK
average of 30 per cent.

Other situations in which Scots felt less pressure to drink than the UK average were
during holidays and in the sun.The survey was carried out by the One Year No Beer (OYNB) campaign, in collaboration with Stirling University.

Campaign co-founder Ruari Fairbairns said: “I know from personal experience how
difficult it is to say no when you are being badgered into
having a drink.

“And it’s easy to cave in under peer pressure when everyone around you is having a great time getting stuck in.

“It’s expected of you to drink – it goes against the grain if you don’t.

“Why is it that it’s the people we call our friends who find it hardest of any of our
relationships to accept when we say no?”

OYNB is a programmededicated to surviving modern society alcohol-free, and since being founded in 2014 has recruited more than 25,000 members.