Page last updated: September 29, 2015
Binge drinking vs. drunkenness: the questionable threshold of excess for young Italians

Authors of a study from Italy suggest that the use of a standard definition of 'binge drinking' can potentially offer the advantage of 'objectifying' the concept of excessive drinking. Nevertheless, the term has become somewhat confusing, as it is often used as a synonym of drunkenness, making cross-cultural comparison difficult. Their study investigated the meaning Italian young people attribute to binge drinking, to explain the gap between self-reported rates of drunkenness and episodes of binge drinking found by comparative youth drinking surveys. About 134 face-to-face semi-structured interviews were conducted, targeting adolescents (aged 15-17) and young adults (aged 22-24) who had admitted to drinking excessively. In addition, an online forum was created, using a video clip as a stimulus and asking for web users' comments (132 were analysed). Results show how in the view of Italian bingers, binge drinking does not necessarily entail drunkenness, but only being tipsy. This is what they aim at when they drink, while they have negative attitudes and expectations regarding intoxication and its effects. This boundary establishes the concept of excess and marks the threshold between socially acceptable and unacceptable drinking. In conclusion, the concept of binge drinking cannot be used as a synonym of drunkenness, which young people in Italy judge severely. Source: Binge drinking vs. drunkenness: the questionable threshold of excess for young Italians Beccaria F; Petrilli E; Rolando S, Journal of Youth Studies, Vol 18, No 7, 2015, pp823-838..

 

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