Jump to Main ContentJump to Primary Navigation
Top

Drinking in pubs with friends is good for you, new study confirms

pub-benefits-1.jpg

Physically broken and financially broke after the spangled, booze-fuelled carnage of December, early January is traditionally the time when many people decide they’re going to practice abstinence and self-control.

“No, thanks,” say three out of five of your mates, in response to your hopeful Monday night “Pub?” text. “I’m doing Dry January.”

Hmm. How to coax them out of the house, when you know, deep down, that they’re acting in the best interests of their livers and bank balance? Simple: cite this new research by Oxford University, which found that drinking in moderation with friends appears to improve overall wellbeing.

pub

Going to the pub promotes social bonding, says the new study.

The recent study, published in the journal Adaptive Human Behaviour and Psychology, found that people who drank regularly at their local pub were happier, more satisfied with their lives, and had more friends.

“This study showed that frequenting a local pub can directly affect peoples’ social network size and how engaged they are with their local community, which in turn can affect how satisfied they feel in life,” says Professor Robin Dunbar of the University of Oxford’s Experimental Psychology department, which conducted the study.


Read more: Alternative cinema and late-night salons: fun nights out that don’t require booze


The risks of long-term excessive alcohol consumption are well-known, from brain damage to liver disease and cancer. However, the Oxford University researchers believe that drink may also play an important role in helping us develop friendships, by triggering the endorphins that boost happiness and foster bonding.

Strong friendships “provide us with the single most important buffer against mental and physical illness”, said Professor Dunbar. “While pubs traditionally have a role as a place for community socialising, alcohol’s role appears to be in triggering the endorphin system, which promotes social bonding.”

He added: “Like other complex bonding systems such as dancing, singing and storytelling, [going to the pub] has often been adopted by large social communities as a ritual associated with bonding.”


Watch: How to make a peach Bellini


The researchers combined data from three separate studies to examine whether the frequency of alcohol consumption or the type of venue had an impact on peoples’ wellbeing and social experiences.


Read more: All the best ways to indulge your love of gin across the UK


They discovered that people with a “local” that they visited regularly felt more socially engaged and contented, and were more likely to trust others in their community. Those who regularly drank at a nearby pub also tended to be more popular: they had an average of almost eight close friends, compared to six for non-drinkers.

The study also found that people in local pubs tended to have “whole-group conversations” more than those who drank in city-centre bars, because people usually visit their local in smaller groups.

So there you have it: the perfect excuse for avoiding Dry January. But if you remain committed to staying on the wagon, you can check out our guide to the best alcohol-free alternatives to your favourite booze right here.

 

Related

best dessert craft beer.jpg

Marshmallows and mud pies: 12 dessert beers you have to try

0002_26_10204-Edit.jpg

London as you've never seen it before

casablanca champagne.jpg

How to buy bubbles: 8 incredible Champagnes under £30

Comments

More

Been zombied? There’s now a name for this confusing dating behaviour

It's time to talk about the zombies of the dating world...

23 Mar 2017

10 female anthems to share with your mum this Mother's Day

The most moving anthems about motherhood by our favourite female artists.

by Alice Vincent
23 Mar 2017

Londoners share messages of unity and defiance after Parliament attack

“Londoners will never be cowed by terrorism”

by Kayleigh Dray
23 Mar 2017

Games developers donate to girls gaming project after sexist trolling

“It can feel a little helpless to see this stuff and not feel there’s anything positive you can do”

by Amy Swales
22 Mar 2017

10 cocktail recipes inspired by iconic women authors

Intoxicating recipes and feminist literary history: a winning combination.

by Moya Crockett
22 Mar 2017

Footballer charged with murder of ex claims he's 'not a bad guy'

The brazen goalkeeper said 'mistakes happen in life'

22 Mar 2017

This psychologist posted a shopping selfie for an excellent reason

“Everyone around you absorbs every word you say about your body”

by Kayleigh Dray
22 Mar 2017

School girls may be given free tampons to help combat 'period poverty'

It comes after pupils in Leeds admitted to skipping school during their periods.

by Hayley Spencer
22 Mar 2017

Phoebe Waller-Bridge “in talks” for a second Fleabag

We can only hope

by Amy Swales
22 Mar 2017

This bedtime hack will help you to get the best night’s sleep ever

Bleary eyes be gone...

by Hayley Spencer
22 Mar 2017