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Drinkaware. (2020) Understanding (intentional/unintentional) binge drinking at home. Dublin: Drinkaware.

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Qualitative research on the views and experiences of at-home drinking and (intentional/unintentional) binge drinking at home among Irish adults.

The aim of this research was to explore the views and experiences of at-home drinking and (intentional/unintentional) binge drinking at home among Irish adults. The specific objective was to further investigate the data from the Drinkaware Index (2019) by gathering insight into the experiences of at-home drinking to create a better understanding of its prevalence and drivers exploring the specific gaps in knowledge among Irish adults on binge drinking.

A Qualitative research design was employed. Following informed consent, six qualitative, semistructured focus group discussions were conducted with a sample of Irish adults (n=39). Data was collected between October and November 2019. Thematic analysis was applied to examine the data in order to identify common themes and topics that were coming up repeatedly across the six focus groups and interpret key patterns of meaning. Five core themes were identified across the six focus groups, namely
1. Attitudes to At-Home Drinking – seen as convenient, comfortable and easy, as well as being affordable, accessible and acceptable; an alternative to going out,
2. Motivations re Drinking At-Home – socially-driven and habit-forming;
3. Intention-knowledge Gap - people are conscious of their drinking, but lack of the correct or sufficient knowledge, along with self-serving biases, can make it difficult to deliver on good intentions; misconceptions of the difference between ‘moderate’ and ‘binge’ drinking
4. Moderation in Action - how intent translates (or not) into moderate consumption, the techniques used and how “moderate” is interpreted; and
5. Impacts – there can be both unintended and intentional consumption and consequences.

The findings provide an extensive suite of qualitative data on Irish adults’ experiences of at-home drinking, and their intentions surrounding at home drinking. They provide vital learnings into the specific gaps in knowledge on binge drinking among a sample of Irish adults. The results of this study will be crucial to informing the development and delivery of national information campaigns on drinking in the home setting and the harms associated with binge drinking, and also the development and roll out of tools and collaterals to assist with reducing consumption in the home (i.e. provide adults with both knowledge and skills to change behaviour). The empirical evidence gathered will be crucial to understanding the mindset of Irish adults’ at-home drinking prior to the current COVID-19 crisis as well as providing data on how it may be better managed post-crisis.


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