Understanding Non-Drinker Student Experiences

  • Hill, K. (Author)
  • Sarah Mansbridge (Author)
  • Ana Saravanja (Author)
  • Amy Watts (Author)

Activity: Academic Talks or PresentationsOral presentationResearch


Alcohol misuse has significant costs to student health, education, finances, universities and local communities. However, because much work focuses on preventing misuse in excessive drinkers, little is known about the experiences of university students who consume little or no alcohol. Recent trends in alcohol consumption suggest non-drinkers make up a large part of the study body, with non-participation having great implications for young people’s identity, inclusion and social-cultural practices.

We conducted semi-structured focus group interviews with 10 students, 5 females and 5 males. A thematic analysis of narratives provided an insight into how non-drinking and light drinking students navigate university lives which promote excessive consumption.

Key themes relate to university drinking cultures, non-inclusive events, stigma and alcohol behaviour labelling. Our findings relate to university transitions, student inclusion, relationships and the difficulties students experience as a result of their non-drinking status. Findings contribute to a growing literature in this area.

Discussion: Implications will be provided for how universities could help construct an inclusive, safe and responsible campus cultures for all students, regardless of their alcohol drinking status. An overview of our future work which focuses on the importance of social events which do not involve alcohol consumption (e.g. sober raves) will also be provided as a potential solution to these issues. Challenges to such an approach will also be provided.
Period2021 → …
Event titleThe British Psychological Society's Social Psychology Section Annual Conference: Developing an Inclusive Social Psychology
Event typeConference