The role of alcohol in forging and maintaining friendships amongst Scottish men in midlife

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  • Emslie, C et al (2013) Health Psychology journal article

    Rights statement: Published by American Psychological Association (APA). Copyright © APA 2013. This article may not exactly replicate the final version published in the APA journal. It is not the copy of record.

    Accepted author manuscript, 401 KB, PDF-document

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Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)33-41
Number of pages9
JournalHealth Psychology
Volume32
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 2013

Abstract

Men drink more heavily and are more likely to die from alcohol-related causes than women. Most alcohol research focuses on young drinkers. We describe the context of men’s drinking in mid-life and explore how alcohol is associated with the construction of masculinities. Qualitative research was used to examine the social context of drinking alcohol. We conducted 15 focus groups (single and mixed sex) with respondents in the west of Scotland, UK. Here, we focus on the findings from 22 men aged 28 to 52 years. Men regarded drinking pints of beer in the pub together as an ‘act of friendship’ and this functioned as a hegemonically appropriate way to communicate with, and support, each other. However, male friends also constructed some non-hegemonic behaviours as forgiveable - and indeed acceptable - while drinking alcohol together. This included practices such as the explicit discussion of emotions and mental health and the consumption of ‘feminine’ drinks under certain circumstances (e.g. in private with close friends).

Keywords

  • alcohol, friendships, male drinkers, mid-life

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