Journal Article

Regrets, I’ve had a few : exploring factors associated with getting drunk and regret in an international study of people who drink alcohol


Background. Excessive alcohol consumption is often followed by feelings of regret. This study aimed to explore country differences in experiences of drunkenness and regrets and predictors of experiencing a greater number of regrettable drinking occasions. Methods. This study draws on a sample of 82,821 respondents from 31 countries who completed the 2020 Global Drug Survey. Respondents were asked to report how many times in the last year they had been drunk, how many of those times they felt regret afterwards and to complete a range of sociodemographic measures. Results. In the last 12 months, the median times drunk was 6 and the median number of regretted occasions was 2. There was an inverse relationship between times drunk and regret. Respondents who got drunk more often regretted it a smaller percentage of the time than those who got drunk less often. Respondents from Argentina and Colombia regretted being drunk the most and Denmark the least. Being younger, in higher AUDIT categories were associated with more times drunk. Being a woman, having mental health conditions were associated with more regretted occasions. Discussion and conclusions: Country variations may reflect relative acceptability of being drunk. Those who drink more, per occasion, may become accustomed to the consequences and feel fewer regrets. Interventions promoting reduced alcohol consumption may benefit from encouraging people to consider their future regret following a drinking occasion but should account for lower levels of regret in those who get drunk more often.

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Davies, Emma L.
Puljević, Cheneal
Winstock, Adam R.
Ferris, Jason A.

Oxford Brookes departments

Department of Psychology, Health and Professional Development


Year of publication: 2024
Date of RADAR deposit: 2024-01-05

Creative Commons License This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License

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