Current research projects
All stakeholders involved in addressing alcohol-related harm agree on the importance of evidence and the value of cross-analysis of all available data, which is why we openly invite access to our research data. At Drinkaware, we also seek to collaborate with others on research projects that can deepen the collective understanding of the behaviours, attitudes and motivational drivers of alcohol misuse in Ireland and the collective response to reduce its impact. Read on to learn more about both current and recent research projects.
Drinkaware Annual Barometer
The purpose of our annual Barometer (conducted by Behaviour and Attitudes), is to deliver timely and comprehensive insight and context that enriches understanding of Irish adults’ behaviours and attitudes towards alcohol. A quota-controlled sampling procedure is utilised to deliver a nationally representative sample of 1,000 adults aged 18+ with online surveys being conducted at a specific point in the year. Questionnaire design incorporates internationally recognised question models including the AUDIT-C, Drinking Motive Questionnaire: Revised Short Form and Short Warwick-Edinburgh Mental Wellbeing Scale. This delivers a greater knowledge on the use and misuse of alcohol that in turn helps shape more effective interventions and preventions, including Drinkaware’s public information, engagement and education programmes. The research serves an additional critical purpose, to flag evolving patterns of attitudes, behaviours and culture regarding alcohol and lifestyle in Ireland, which signposts potential forward projections based on past and current behaviours.
Following careful consultation with B&A regarding specific questions for 2023, we signed off on the content of the questionnaire for 2023 and data collection took place in mid June. You can read about the process here. We have recently released the Barometer 2023 key findings and we look forward to sharing further findings over the coming months.
Read the key findings from our 2023 Barometer.
Young Adults Position Paper
The purpose of Drinkaware’s Annual Barometer (conducted by B&A), is to deliver timely and comprehensive insight and context that enriches understanding of Irish adults’ behaviours and attitudes towards alcohol. This delivers a greater knowledge on the use and misuse of alcohol that in turn helps shape more effective interventions and preventions, including Drinkaware’s public information, engagement and education programmes. The research serves an additional critical purpose, to flag evolving patterns of attitudes, behaviours and culture regarding alcohol and lifestyle in Ireland, which signposts potential forward projections based on past and current behaviours. It is against this research backdrop that this position paper on young adults has been written using available evidence from our Barometer data series to support key areas of concern that we have identified and require more understanding.
The findings of this position paper Young Adults in Ireland: an insight into 18-34 year olds’ alcohol use and wellbeing provide a vital foundation for future research activities that we intend to carry out in 2023 and 2024 that listen to and capture young adults’ own voices. We need to fully understand the motivations, attitudes and behaviour that drive consumption and misuse, if we expect to help.
As a charity in the area of health promotion and behaviour change, we hold transparency and collaboration in high regard at all times. Our data is open access. And our doors are open to all formal and information collaborations and cooperations that have a shared goal to prevent and reduce the misuse of alcohol. Please email Dr Ann Stokes Research & Impacts Manager if you have a specific research query.
We recently held our 2023 Winter research briefing focusing on the topic of drinking behaviour and attitudes among adults in Ireland. We hope to have a 2024 Spring research briefing. If you would like to be added to our invite list, please email firstname.lastname@example.org
Parents, Covid-19 and Alcohol: A Qualitative Research
Recent Barometers collectively signposted the need to better understand parental behaviour and attitudes towards alcohol, in the context of lived family experiences of COVID-19. We were specifically interested in exploring:
- The nature of alcohol use in the home
- Beliefs around alcohol
- Parental practices and approaches
- The situations where this might tip into harm and misuse
- The impact COVID-19 had on these behaviour shifts
The project took a qualitative research approach to better understand these issues. The study involved a range of parents, covering pre-schoolers, 5-12 years, and early teens (up to age 15 years). This research was conducted by Dr Maggie Matthews and John O’Mahony from B&A. This research can be read here.
Understanding (intentional/unintentional) Binge Drinking at Home in Ireland (This research was explored in 2019)
Conducted with support from Amárach Research
In 2019 we began a programme of research to explore the views and experiences of at-home drinking and (intentional/unintentional) binge drinking at home among Irish adults. The 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 gaps in knowledge among Irish adults on binge drinking. A series of qualitative, semi-structured focus group discussions were conducted with a sample of Irish adults (n=39) between October and November 2019.
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 empirical evidence gathered is also crucial to understanding the mindset of Irish adults’ home drinking prior to the COVID-19 crisis as well as providing data on how it may be better managed post-crisis.
Evaluation of Drinkaware’s Junior Cycle Alcohol Education Programme
Led by Professor Sinéad McGilloway, Founder and Director of the Centre for Mental Health and Community Research at Maynooth University Department of Psychology, in collaboration with Dr John Weafer of Weafer and Associates.
This three-year independent longitudinal study on the effectiveness of Drinkaware’s manualised junior cycle programme was initiated in 2018 and was completed in 2021. The objectives of this mixed methods study were to:
Asses the nature, extent and experience of alcohol use amongst a sample of junior cycle students in post-primary schools throughout Ireland.
Investigate attitudes and beliefs towards, and knowledge of, alcohol amongst the students.
Assess the perceived effectiveness, experience and acceptability of the AEP in the school setting amongst bother students and teachers.
Please see here to find out more about the status of the Junior Cycle Alcohol Education Programme.
Drinking behaviours and attitudes in Ireland in the context of COVID-19
During 2020-2022 we developed a series of Barometer research papers on key issues/topics (e.g. families, young adults) in order to provide a fuller picture of the impact of the pandemic on alcohol consumption in Ireland. We will continue to examine the impact of COVID-19 in our 2023 Barometer.