Understanding Alcohol Subjectivities: A Q-Methodology Approach.

Activity: Academic Talks or PresentationsConference Presentation


Behaviour change theories aimed at preventing alcohol misuse view intentions as the best predictor of behaviour, based upon the view that cognition guides behaviour. However, intentions are a fairly poor predictor of behaviour. Instead of explaining behaviour in terms of brain functioning and putting the brain before behaviour, an ecological approach places the level of explanation at the interplay of brain, body and world. Meaning exists at the relation of an organism to its environment, as suggested by Gibson’s affordance construct. Affordances represent possibilities for action which humans are able to utilise, for instance, certain objects are graspable and individuals can be spoken-to. During stage 1 of this research programme, a non-participant observational study illustrated potential affordances for promoting or inhibiting alcohol consumption within UK licensed premises, from an independent observer’s perspective. During stage 2, a photo-elicitation interview approach uncovered the individual subjectivity that exists between young adults and their drinking environments. A combination of these findings provided a varied concourse of alcohol-related affordances for a q-methodology study. 40 participants ranked 60 statements along a symmetrical grid with ‘strongly disagree’ at one end and ‘strongly agree’ at the other, based on their perceptions of their drinking behaviours and drinking environments. A preliminary factor analysis of these rankings and post-sort interviews uncovered factors which highlighted patterns of subjectivity from individual perceptions of drinking environments and drinking behavior. A focus will be on the conceptual and methodological challenges for this research, including the implications this has for theory, policy and future research.
PeriodNov 2013
Event titleEuropean Society for Prevention Research (EUSPR) Annual International Conference and Members Meeting, Paris, France
Event typeConference
Degree of RecognitionNational