The more friends you drink with, the more you drink

A convivial evening in the pub may become more dangerous the more convivial it gets, according to new research in the journal Addiction – admittedly something you might have been able to work out for yourself.

Researchers from the Center for Tobacco Control Research and Education, University of California, San Francisco, used internet-based questionnaires to survey young adult drinkers in Switzerland via smartphone every hour while they were drinking in real-life situations. They asked the young drinkers to report the number of friends present and number of drinks they had consumed.

The study involved a total of 183 young adults (53.0% female, mean age = 23.1) who completed 7,205 questionnaires on 1,441 evenings.

Results showed that as the number of friends present increased, so did the number of drinks an individual consumed each hour.

This suggests that messages aimed at reducing risk among young drinkers should aim to combat this tendency. The arrival of more drinking buddies at the college bar on a Friday night may be cause for delight, but not necessarily a call for another round of drinks.