Males follow older siblings’ example in drinking

May 26th, 2010 - 5:54 pm ICT by IANS  

Sydney, May 26 (IANS) Males influence their younger siblings into copycat drinking, says a new study.
Ryan McAndrew, of Queensland University of Technology (QUT) School of Advertising, Marketing and Public Relations, said that of those surveyed, males aged three, four and five years older than their brothers played a significant role in influencing drinking levels.

“Siblings within one to two years of age may see their older siblings as more of an equal than one who possesses power.

“They will, therefore, be less likely to be influenced by them but older siblings are close enough to have a high frequency of contact, and old enough for the younger sibling to see them as an authority figure,” said McAndrew.

The study of young adults aged 18 to 30 looked at the age, gender and cultural influences of siblings in influencing drinking behaviours.

McAndrew said overall siblings exerted a “force” in alcohol consumption but the extent of this force was dependent on the age and gender combinations of the siblings.

“For example, all male siblings recorded the strongest similarity in drinking behaviours compared with all female and male female siblings,” he said.

“The results found that the aspect of “masculinity” in an all male sibship was significantly associated with alcohol consumption.

“It is likely that sibling rivalry elicits competitive actions by the sibling pair, as drinking is associated with physical stamina and prowess, a male pair may engage in drinking to see who can drink the most.”

McAndrew said risky drinking by young people was a major health problem with about 50 percent of 18-year-olds already drinking at risky levels, said a university release.

“Binge drinking is of particular concern with increasing levels of alcohol-related harm, including hospitalisation, unwanted sexual activity and drink driving being reported,” he said.

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