9th January, 2017 by Octavia Bromell
New research has shown that moderate, casual drinking with friends may be linked to overall health benefits.
Despite multiple studies praising the benefits of red wine, alcohol in general has gained a bit of a bad name for itself in recent months, with UK consumption guidelines dropping to just 14 units last year.
However, a new study, published in the journal for Adaptive Human Behaviour and Physiology has shown that the odd pint or two while socialising is directly linked to better wellbeing.
The fresh research, which looked at the possible benefits of drinking instead of the standard negatives, looked at the role alcohol plays in social cohesion, discovering in particular that people without a local pub are likely to have a smaller social circle, and to be less trusting of their community.
Professor Robin Dunbar, of the University of Oxford’s Experimental Psychology department, said: “This study showed that frequenting a local pub can directly affect peoples’ social network size and how engaged they are with their local community, which in turn can affect how satisfied they feel in life.
“Our social networks provide us with the single most important buffer against mental and physical illness. While pubs traditionally have a role as a place for community socialising, alcohol’s role appears to be in triggering the endorphin system, which promotes social bonding. Like other complex bonding systems such as dancing, singing and storytelling, it has often been adopted by large social communities as a ritual associated with bonding.”
Colin Valentine, CAMRA’s national chairman, added: “Personal wellbeing and happiness have a massive impact not only on individual lives, but on communities as a whole. Pubs play a unique role in offering a social environment to enjoy a drink with friends in a responsible setting.”
The full research can be read on the journal’s website.