According to a new Drinkaware / YouGov survey, which looks at adult drinking patterns in the UK, almost half (47%) of men between 35 and 75 who drink alcohol do so to fit in, be liked or to not feel left out; compared to only just over a third (36%) of women of the same age.

Worryingly, half (49%) of men who drink due to social pressures do so at harmful levels.[1]

Under pressure, people are likely to drink more than they feel comfortable with and can put themselves at risk of accidents and injuries. In the long term, this drinking pattern can increase the risk of heart disease, liver disease, cancer and poor mental health.

Former Olympic swimmer Mark Foster,who is lending his support to this issue said:

“When I was growing up, my swimming ambitions meant that late nights and alcohol weren’t part of my life and I was able to avoid the social pressures that many men experience to drink.

“We’ve all been down the pub or in a bar with friends and know how difficult it can be to say no to taking part in a round or the ribbings that happen when people decide not to have another one.

“Drinkaware’s research shows that this happens all too often and I feel strongly that no one should be pressurised to drink, if they don’t want to.”

Commenting Drinkaware Director of Marketing and Communications Ben Butler said:

“Drinking alcohol because you want to fit in, be liked or to avoid feeling left out isn’t just for the younger generation as our survey shows that half of men who drink admitted they do so because of social pressure.

“These men are drinking in a way that could significantly impact their health simply because they feel pressured to do so. They may be part of a group of friends or colleagues that express disapproval if someone doesn’t keep up with rounds or decides not to have a drink. This behaviour can put enormous pressure on people, who worry that their friendship or work friendships will be affected; in turn, this can negatively impact their wellbeing and mental health.

“There also still seems to be a notion that you’re not a proper man if you decide not to drink or if you have a little less. But whether work mates are challenging you or friends are making you feel like you have to keep up, you should never feel pressured into drinking alcohol if you don’t want to.

“What people may not realise is many people are drinking less, and today, one in 10 men choose not to drink at all. Our DrinkCompare Calculator is a great tool to find out how your drinking compares to the rest of the UK.”

Read the full report of the survey findings here

Notes to editors

[1] We define harmful levels of drinking according to AUDIT scores of 8 or higher. AUDIT is a tool developed by the World Health Organisation to assess alcohol consumption, drinking behaviours and alcohol related problems. The 49.2% of harmful drinkers among 34-75 year old men drinking because of social pressure compares to 35.2% of harmful drinkers among men of the same age who do not drink because of social pressure.