Understanding the functional characteristics of drinking environments: an alternative approach for making nightlife healthier (presented to the Higher School of Nursing of Lisbon (Escola Superior de Enfermagem de Lisboa))

Activity: Academic Talks or PresentationsInvited talkResearch


Alcohol misuse is a public health concern. Many dominant social cognition models aimed at understanding drinking behaviour are based upon a representational model of cognition. For example, many approaches view cognitive attributes as the primary mediator of behaviour. Although research suggests that the environmental features of nightlife settings influence drinking behaviour, much research is contradictory. In addition to this, a focus is often on how the environment influences cognitive attributes, before influencing behaviour. Instead of taking behaviour which occurs in complex settings back to be explained in terms of brain functioning, an Ecological approach suggests behaviour emerges from the direct and unmediated relationship between an individual and their environment. Affordances reflect directly perceived action potentials which can be taken up by an individual in certain contexts. A non-participant observational study conducted in 7 UK licensed premises illustrated how affordances can be used to highlight action opportunities which promote or inhibit excessive alcohol consumption. Practical examples of alcohol-related affordances will be provided, including access to alcohol, payment and security regulations, furniture to sit or place drinks upon, opportunities for action other than drinking, such as food availability and entertainment features to play, watch or listen to, décor and lighting; the availability of drinks and drinks containers, and opportunities for action provided by others. It will be argued that research which uses a function-based taxonomy to understand drinking behaviour in nightlife settings provides a more robust theoretical perspective on behavioural determinants, while potentially contributing to policy initiatives which aim to help make nightlife healthier.
Period18 Jun 2015
Event titleClub Health Lisbon 2015: 9th International Conference on Nightlife, Substance Use and Related Health Issues
Event typeConference