Non-drinkers and Non-drinking: A Review, a Critique and Pathways to Policy
Non-drinkers make up a growing proportion of young adults in many countries. Perhaps mirroring this, academic research focused on non-drinkers is an emerging field of work across disciplinary boundaries. In this chapter, we first provide an overview of qualitative research which has tended to focus on non-drinking as a lifestyle choice for young people, entailing issues relating to motivation, identity and self-management, and quantitative research which have typically explored how ‘views of non-drinkers’ might predict drinking behaviour among young adults and young people. We then problematise understandings of ‘non-drinkers’ and ‘non-drinking’ as straightforward terms drawing on contemporary sociological theory and critical research. The chapter concludes with an exploration of how these emergent themes of the ‘non-drinking literature’ might be used to inform policy and practice to promote moderate alcohol consumption among young adults. We also explore a future research agenda for academics planning research concerning non-drinking and non-drinkers.
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