Alcohol seen as ‘essential’ for relaxation

13th January, 2015 by Melita Kiely

Alcohol adverts are effectively communicating to consumers that alcohol is “essential to relaxation”, experts have warned.

Alcohol Genetics

Research shows alcohol adverts have “effectively” promoted alcohol as essential for relaxation

It comes in light of a new study, Transformation and time-out: the role of alcohol in identity construction among Scottish women in early midlife, which concluded women in their thirties and forties use alcohol as a means to look beyond their everyday roles and responsibilities.

As such, drug and alcohol misuse experts claim alcohol advertising has effectively linked booze to “reward and relaxation”.

Led by Dr Carol Emslie of Glasgow Caledonian University (GCU), the research involved women in aged between 30 and 50 talking about their drinking habits.

The results showed women’s drinking patterns in early midlife was frequently seen as a means to achieve a quick “time out” from responsibilities, such as work and parenthood.

As their children got older, mothers said they were able to drink more as their kids became more independent, but emphasised they organised their drinking around childcare and paid employment responsibilities.

“Given women’s busy lives at this life-stage, it is not surprising that alcohol is seen as an obvious way to relax and connect with others,” said Dr Emslie.

“However, while acknowledging the pleasures of drinking with partners and friends, it is important that we identify other ways in which women achieve ‘time out’ without alcohol, such as exercising or socialising without drinking.”

Professor Kate Hunt at the MRC/CSO Social & Public Health Sciences Unit at the University of Glasgow, part of the research team, added: “These findings reflect how alcohol advertising and other images of drinking have so effectively linked drinking with reward and relaxation.

“While recognising that many people enjoy relaxing with a drink, we need to be wary that images portrayed in the media and entertainment industry do not make alcohol seem essential to relaxation and enjoyment in today’s culture for women in midlife, or indeed for people at any stage of life.”

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