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Study Suggests Individualism May Lead to Problem Drinking

A new study suggests that high levels of individualism may be one of the many factors that make people from particular states or countries are more likely to drink. Researchers from the University of Texas-San Antonio looked into the relation of individualism (and collectivism) among consumers and alcohol consumption. The findings of this study were published in the Journal of Consumer Research.

“We found that the higher a region scored on valuing individualism, the greater their beer and alcohol consumption, and this was true even when taking into account the effects of other variables such as income, climate, gender and religion,” writes Yinlong Zhang and L.J. Shrum, both authors of the study.

The researchers started with a study on various archived data to compare beer and alcohol consumption among various countries and among states in the US. According to the findings of their study, “individualism, on a whole-country basis, could significantly predict alcohol consumption. In the United States, individualism correlated with teen drinking, teen heavy drinking and adult binge drinking.”

The researchers also looked into the cultural orientation of the respondents in the study. They asked the respondents about how they enjoy their own lives (independent self-construal) and their perception of relationships with family and friends (interdependent self-construal). The authors wrote, “We found that people who were temporarily induced to have an independent self-construal were more receptive to immediate beer consumption than were people who were temporarily induced to have an interdependent self-construal.”

It’s important to note, however, that the study did not really ask the respondents on their beer consumption. They were merely asked whether they felt like drinking.

The study also found that those who have more interdependent mindsets were also less likely to binge on alcohol when in the company of friends or family. These people are more apt to regulate their impulsive consumption tendencies as compared to people who manifest individualistic cultural orientations.

This study further explains the importance of being in a stimulating and enriching environment that fosters healthy relations with other people. When one is in the company of people of the same mindset, he is more apt to regulate his behavior. It could also provide a whole new perspective on the alcohol abuse treatment approaches that are in practice these days by emphasizing the need for recovering addicts to be with people who can motivate them to gain control of their lives.

Here at Miramar Recovery Centers, we specialize in individual addiction treatment approaches to ensure that each patient’s needs are properly addressed. Contact us through this website for details.