Alcohol-related affordances and group subjectivities: a Q-Methodology study

Kimberley M Hill, Michael Pilling, David R Foxcroft

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticlepeer-review


Aims: An Ecological approach to alcohol behaviour focuses on understanding individual–environment transactions, rather than on cognitive antecedents of behaviour. Meaning exists in the interdependence of individuals and their environments, in terms of affordances. Through subjective experience, this study focussed on group viewpoints related to alcohol-related affordances, or opportunities to consume alcohol in shared drinking environments. Methods: Forty students with a range of self-reported drinking behaviours participated in a Q-Methodology study, ranking 60 statements along a symmetrical grid. This varied concourse of alcohol-related affordances was obtained from a previous observation study within licenced premises and a photo-elicitation interview study with drinkers. Findings: Factor analysis and post-sort interviews revealed four subjective perspectives held by groups about their drinking behaviour: 13 participants were aware of contextual influences, but autonomous in their drinking choices; 12 participants were conscious of influences and compliant to their effects; six participants were unaware of influences, but unanimous with their peers; two participants were concerned about acting appropriately in a context by taking up canonical affordances. Conclusions: Grouping subjectivities from a varied concourse of affordances can reveal subjective experience in relation to drinking environments and alcohol behaviour. This conceptual approach for understanding drinking behaviour should be studied further.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)376-385
Number of pages10
JournalDrugs: Education, Prevention and Policy
Issue number5
Early online date11 Apr 2017
Publication statusPublished - 3 Sept 2018

Bibliographical note

ISSN: 0968-7637 (Print) 1465-3370 (Online)


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