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Extolling its benefits 'can boost sobriety', says new study

By Ruth Lumley

Pointing out the advantages of staying sober to young people is more effective than traditional approaches warning of the risks of heavy drinking, according to a new study.

Students are more likely to reduce drinking levels if they focus on the benefits of abstaining such as more money and better health, University of Sussex researcher Dr Dominic Conroy said.

They are also less likely to binge-drink if they think about ways not to drink, including being direct but polite when declining a drink or choosing to spend time with supportive friends.

The research, published in the British Journal of Health Psychology, found that completing a drinks diary was less effective in encouraging safer drinking behaviour than completing an exercise relating to non-drinking.

Dr Conroy said: "Our research contributes to existing health promotion advice, which seeks to encourage young people to consider taking 'dry days' yet does not always indicate the range of benefits nor suggest how non-drinking can be more successfully managed in social situations."

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