A third (35%) of drinkers in the UK drink more than they intended because they were encouraged by others, a new study by independent alcohol education charity Drinkaware reveals.

The research, published in Drinkaware’s annual monitor of more than 2,000 adults, unveils a culture of peer pressure around drinking. More than a third (35%) of drinkers say that pressure to drink is common in their age group — rising to 60% in the 18-24 age group — and 57% would like it to be less prevalent.

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More than one in three (37%) UK adults who drink alcohol report drinking more than they planned because they were in a round, a third (34%) drank more because they did not want to be impolite and refuse a drink, while 29% said they wanted to keep up with others.

Some drinkers employ tactics to resist the pressure to drink, such as nursing their drink to avoid having another (37%), while 11% say they actively seek friends who drink little or no alcohol.

For those who do drink more than they intended, it’s friends and co-workers who are most likely to be influential, with 60% of people claiming their friends have encouraged them to drink more than intended and 43% of people in work saying there is too much pressure to drink when socialising with work colleagues. Thirteen per cent of men who drink are influenced to drink more by their boss or a superior, compared to 8% of women.

A significant proportion of adults are contributing to the culture of pressure; one in five (21%) adults who drink admitted to having encouraged someone to drink more alcohol after they said they didn’t want to. A similar number had given someone an alcoholic drink or topped up their glass without asking first (19%).

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