It seems like a near-weekly occurrence when health authorities issue a new, chilling warning about the health effects of alcohol.
But actually, it’s much more effective to tell middle-aged drinkers that they risk embarrassing themselves by drinking, a new study has found.
Researchers at the University of Adelaide found that people between 30 and 65 only have ‘minor’ concerns about the health effects of alcohol, the Telegraph reports.
Instead, public health messaging should focus on how alcohol might make people fail to meet responsibilities, or cause inappropriate behaviour.
The researchers write, ‘The drinkers in these studies were aware of public health messages, but drew upon alternative narratives to re-frame their behaviours in ways that minimised or dismissed personal risk. Health was either described as a minor concern or not considered at all.’
Lead researcher Emma Muhlack said: ‘It is surprising that health does not strongly factor in the way that this group thinks about their drinking.
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‘We knew very little about the decision-making processes that go into the alcohol consumption of middle-age drinkers.
‘The results from this review help us to better understand how drinking alcohol fits into their everyday lives and which factors may need to be taken into consideration when attempting to reduce alcohol consumption in this group.’