Excessive consumption

Addressing binge drinking - Research support

Research support

Italy

As part of the Italian brewers association AssoBirra’s continued support to the Osservatorio Permanente sui Giovani e l’Alcool (The Permanent Observatory on Youth and Alcohol), in December 2013 a conference took place on “Beyond quantity: binge drinking vs. drunkenness”. Organised jointly with the Department of Culture, Politics and Society of the University of Torino and the consultant firm Eclectica (Turin), the day was devoted to an open debate around a qualitative examination of binge drinking behaviour in two groups of young people (aged respectively 15-17 and 22-24) in three Italian cities (Torino, Roma and Salerno).

The research strategy – coordinated and executed by Eclectica under the direction of Dr. Franca Beccaria – aimed at an empirical assessment of the notion of bingeing as interpreted and experienced directly by young people engaging in it. In particular the qualitative methods adopted allowed for a comprehensive evaluation of the subjective perspectives of drinkers who binge. Quite interestingly, the analysis shows that Italian excessive drinkers adopt a variety of behavioural strategies leading to a substantial discrimination between getting drunk and bingeing. Young Italians are clearly distinguishing between drunkenness – whose negative connotation and association with intoxication is clearly expressed, and being “tipsy” or euphoric. The conference showed that the concept of binge drinking shows significant exceptions in the Italian case and its adoptability as a fully-fledged concept of juvenile excessive drinking should be revised. A round table took place amongst Prof. J. Demant (University of Aarhus), Prof. F. Faggiano (University of Piemonte Orientale), Dr. F. Piani (Inter regional Health Commission), Cr. L. Grosso (Gruppo Abele), M. Contel (Osservatorio Permanente sui Giovani e l’Alcool) and P. Ugolini (Italian Society of Health Sociology), with concluding remarks by Prof. F. Prina (Università di Torino).

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