This factsheet provides key research findings and statistics on the common misconceptions and key concerns regarding binge drinking among young adults. This is based on the results generated from a study commissioned by Asia Pacific Breweries Singapore and conducted by Dr Mathew Mathews from the Department of Sociology, National University of Singapore (NUS).
531 Singaporean residents aged between 18 and 25 participated in the survey which was conducted at 3 popular nightspots in Singapore.
Key Statistics and Insights
Based on the findings, one common misconception about binge drinking was: “Binge drinking is when I start vomiting after x number of drinks”
In-depth interviews revealed that interview participants saw binging not in terms of alcohol ingested, but whether the individual was able to control the negative consequences of drinking. Thus, vomiting as a result of over-drinking was commonly conceptualised as binge drinking.
Health experts define binge drinking as consuming five or more glasses of alcohol at a single session. The nature and severity of the problems it causes depends on how frequently it occurs, and over how long a period it is maintained.
1. Meanings Associated with Binge Drinking
Compared to non-bingers, binge drinkers gave higher endorsement to binging being cool, exciting, sexy, macho and glamorous.
2. Attitudes towards Alcohol Consumption
Agreement was generally low for statements such as “When someone is out on a drinking binge, people think he/she is cool”, “People admire those who can drink lots of alcohol” and “I drink more alcohol when there are people of the opposite sex around me”. However, binge drinkers consistently showed stronger endorsement to these statements compared to non-bingers.
3. Negative Effects of Binge Drinking
Bingers experienced more negative effects due to their drinking compared to nonbingers. They were likely to report more occurrences where they did something they later regretted, were hurt, injured or performed poorly at work or school as a result of their drinking.
4. Gender Differences in Binge Drinking
Males tended to drink more alcohol when females were around, but not the reverse. Female bingers were more likely to state that they refused drinks when they felt they were losing control of themselves. They did this more than male bingers.
5. Health Promotion Avenues
Although 56% of survey respondents showed moderate to strong agreement that binge drinking is dangerous to health, only 25% of the survey respondents showed moderate to strong agreement that there was enough information on the dangers of binge-drinking.
6. Choice of Media Engagement
Both bingers and non-bingers surveyed were more receptive to health information provided by their peers, experts and family doctors. Only 13 of the survey respondents were likely to pay attention to health information messages given by celebrities. Both bingers and non-bingers gave high endorsement for health promotion information disseminated through formal media channels especially documentaries, newspapers and websites.