Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item:
Appears in Collections:Faculty of Health Sciences and Sport Journal Articles
Peer Review Status: Refereed
Title: The families and friends of heavy drinkers: Caught in the cross-fire of policy change?
Author(s): O'May, Fiona
Whittaker, Anne
Black, Heather
Gill, Jan
Keywords: substance‐related disorders
qualitative method
Issue Date: Mar-2017
Date Deposited: 26-Feb-2019
Citation: O'May F, Whittaker A, Black H & Gill J (2017) The families and friends of heavy drinkers: Caught in the cross-fire of policy change?. Drug and Alcohol Review, 36 (2), pp. 192-199.
Abstract: Introduction and Aims Research highlights the need to better understand the impact of alcohol‐related harm on families and communities. Scottish policy initiatives to reduce alcohol consumption and alcohol‐related harm include the planned introduction of a minimum unit price for alcohol. We aimed to explore existing and proposed changes in alcohol policy, from the standpoint of heavy drinkers, through accounts of their involvement and repercussions for family and friends. Design and Methods Interviews were conducted with 20 heavy drinkers, recruited from hospital alcohol treatment centres in Scotland's two largest cities. Participants were part of a larger longitudinal mixed methods study. Interviews explored experiences of alcohol‐related harm and the impact, or potential impact, of alcohol policy changes on drinking patterns, risk‐taking, consumption and wellbeing. Data coded for ‘family and friends’ were thematically analysed using a constant comparison method. Results Family and friends were portrayed as important for aiding moderation and abstinence, but more often for sustaining continued heavy drinking. Heavy drinkers with complex needs and those living in deprived communities suggested that increased alcohol prices could exacerbate the detrimental effect on their health and social circumstances, and that of their family, should their consumption remain excessive. Discussion and Conclusions Population level policy initiatives to reduce alcohol consumption, such as minimum unit pricing, will impact on the families and social networks of heavy drinkers in addition to the drinker. The most vulnerable may be affected disproportionately. Alcohol policy changes and evaluations need to consider consequences for drinkers, families and communities.
DOI Link: 10.1111/dar.12403
Rights: This is the peer reviewed version of the following article: O'May, F., Whittaker, A., Black, H., and Gill, J. (2017) The families and friends of heavy drinkers: Caught in the cross‐fire of policy change?. Drug and Alcohol Review, 36: 192–199, which has been published in final form at This article may be used for non-commercial purposes in accordance with Wiley Terms and Conditions for self-archiving.

Files in This Item:
File Description SizeFormat 
4334OPEN.pdfFulltext - Accepted Version504.37 kBAdobe PDFView/Open

This item is protected by original copyright

Items in the Repository are protected by copyright, with all rights reserved, unless otherwise indicated.

The metadata of the records in the Repository are available under the CC0 public domain dedication: No Rights Reserved

If you believe that any material held in STORRE infringes copyright, please contact providing details and we will remove the Work from public display in STORRE and investigate your claim.