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‘Isn’t it mostly girls that do pre-drinks really?’ Young men and women’s accounts of pre-loading in the UK

Atkinson, AM and Sumnall, H (2017) ‘Isn’t it mostly girls that do pre-drinks really?’ Young men and women’s accounts of pre-loading in the UK. Drugs: Education, Prevention, and Policy, 26 (1). pp. 60-69. ISSN 0968-7637

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Aims: Pre-loading, the consumption of off-sale alcohol within private settings before socialising in licenced premises, is common among young people. The research explored young people’s accounts of pre-loading within their experience of wider peer group drinking occasions in the UK. Methods: Fourteen semi-structured focus group interviews were conducted with peer groups of young people (N = 70, 16–21 years) and analysed using thematic analysis. Results: Pre-loading with friends prior to a ‘night out’ drinking in public spaces was a common sequential practice within their collective drinking experiences. Although traditionally conceptualised within policy, academic and media discourse as drinking in the domestic sphere before entering licenced premises, young people also considered drinking within the home prior to attending private parties (e.g. house parties) as pre-loading. Price was represented as a key, yet not sole, motivating factor and pre-drinking alcohol held importance in reaching a desired state of intoxication that enhanced shared fun and pleasure among both young men and women. However, the social (e.g. chatting with friends, taking photographs) and preparatory activities (e.g. ‘getting ready’) at play during pre-loading appeared to hold more importance to young women, in promoting group bonding and in the creation and management of heterosexual feminine identities both on- and off-line. Conclusions: Although price is important, there is a wider social and cultural significance of pre-loading as a gendered phenomenon. Young people apply a wider definition of pre-loading that incorporated the consumption of off-sale alcohol prior to parties within private settings.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in Drugs: Education, Prevention, and Policy on 2/10/17, available online: http://www.tandfonline.com/10.1080/09687637.2017.1377154
Uncontrolled Keywords: 1117 Public Health And Health Services
Subjects: R Medicine > RA Public aspects of medicine > RA0421 Public health. Hygiene. Preventive Medicine
Divisions: Public Health Institute
Publisher: Taylor & Francis
Date Deposited: 06 Oct 2017 10:16
Last Modified: 04 Sep 2021 11:08
DOI or ID number: 10.1080/09687637.2017.1377154
URI: https://researchonline.ljmu.ac.uk/id/eprint/7292
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