Becoming Safe, Legal, Mature, Moderate, and Self-Reflexive: Trajectories of Drinking and Abstinence among Young People
2. Materials and Methods
2.1. Recruitment Procedure
3.1. Drinking Becomes Translated from Unsafe to Safe Assemblages
I think it is because you are getting older and are allowed to go out and drink at the club. It’s not that scary anymore. Since everybody else is doing it, it shouldn’t be dangerous (Tara, 18 years old, moderate drinker).
Before 18, one couldn’t drink at the bars and instead bought from a dealer. And that, I would say, is irresponsible because you never know what it contains. I know a lot of friends who thought it wasn’t cool, but they found it fun to drink, and they did it a lot. But after they turned 18, they changed. They went to the bars instead and didn’t drink as much. (…) It feels like they drink more responsibly and less now. (…) People stopped going to home parties (Santiago, 19 years old, moderate drinker).
I would not say that it [the alcohol] is that important as such. It’s more like you have gotten accustomed to that it’s always around you. For example, I tend to go to all the Friday pubs, not that, “Oh, it’s Friday, let’s get drunk” but more like, “Ah, it’s Friday, a week of studies is over”, and I’ll hang out with all the students (…) and just celebrate the weekend. And then I have two or three beers because I’m there; it’s there. And that’s nice (Sophie, 21 years old, heavy drinker).
3.2. Drinking Becomes Translated from Illegal to Legal Assemblages
Not that we are “abstainers”, but more like “we don’t drink”. We are minors—why would we? It’s as if there is a totally different perception of what’s allowed compared to earlier. (…) It feels like many people take them [the age limits] more seriously (Ella, 15 years old, abstainer).
They [the parents] say I shouldn’t start drinking… [and that I should wait until] I turn 18 (William, 15 years old, abstainer).
When I’m 18, I can drink, and they will trust me. (…) I want to devote myself to sports, and I can’t do that if I drink a lot. When I’m 18, or at graduation, there will be a champagne breakfast and such. Then I’ll probably drink. (…) First of all, I’ll have turned 18 and [at that point] we can celebrate something (William, 17 years old, abstainer).
3.3. High-Performing Assemblages Exclude Drinking or Become Translated to Include Drinking for Pleasure
My parents would prefer me to do something they never had the opportunity to do, and that is to study and educate myself. (…) I try to prove myself to my parents; I want them to perceive me as a very responsible person. I want to make my own money, and I want them to trust me (…) because you never know what will happen. One of them could pass away, or we could lose the house and then it’s always good if I have money on the side to provide for us for at least a month or so (Sana, 16 years old, abstainer).
I have never had the feeling of wanting to try it out [drinking]. I think it seems scary to lose control, sort of, and I don’t like those settings. (…) It seems uneasy. (…) I can’t see a reason for it. But, well, it has to do with health, too, why I wouldn’t (Alice, 18 years old, abstainer).
First, I thought it could be fun, but then I had to work early the morning after, and I had practice. I was considering it, but it didn’t happen. Well, I don’t know, I might be a bit more attracted to it (Alice, 19 years old, abstainer).
I have a friend, and when I got to know him more, we started to hang out and drink beer together. (…) I have realised that it is a way to meet people in society today (…) I think one beer tastes good, it is a nice beverage with food, sort of. (…) It feels extra luxurious (...) I become a bit more relaxed, and things can be a bit more fun. (…) On occasion, I have felt this feeling of panic in alcohol environments, that I am not comfortable in the situation (…) I just want to leave. (…) I have managed to overcome that a little. My sister knows how I feel, so she tried saying to me, “Come on”, tried to make me dance and eventually she managed to and then I overcame [my fear] … I went from feeling really uncomfortable to actually enjoying myself (Alice, 20 years old, moderate drinker).
3.4. Heavy Drinking Becomes Translated from Immature to Mature Assemblages
It feels more fresh now, sort of. Before [the drinking] could be more frowzy, but now… I have more control over myself. That has changed. But I do the same things. (…) Take more responsibility, am older and hang out with older people. I don’t have to go out partying just because everybody else does it. Now I have other friends to watch a movie with. (…) I have more options of what to do. More money and more diversity. Before, I could go out drinking because I had just turned 18 and everybody wanted to go out. Now I’m 20, and I can sit and knit a sweater if I want to [laughter], and that wouldn’t be a problem (Oliver, 20 years old, heavy drinker).
I drink a lot less nowadays. (…) I know I have more control now. It’s not that I drank myself under the table every weekend, but it doesn’t happen as often that I get that drunk. And that’s because, I think, I don’t find it as fun anymore. (…) I’ve started to like red wine and beer too. (…) In that sense, I’ve started to drink in other social settings. Not just to get hammered. I drink because I enjoy it. Is it good for me?—That I don’t know (Thomas, 20 years old, heavy drinker).
I have had anxiety [after drinking]. It’s felt unnecessary to drink because I know it will make me feel bad. I’ve had depression and take antidepressants too. Sometimes the anxiety gets worse the day after and the few days after drinking. (…) I don’t want that anymore because I don’t want to feel that way. (…) I’d rather concentrate on my studies (Lily, 20 years old, previous heavy drinker, currently moderate drinker).
I don’t think I drink an awful lot, considering that I am 21 years old. I would not regard myself as an alcoholic. (…) You know it’s not good for you to drink, so you will scale down eventually. But I want to have fun now while being young, so I do it anyway (Thomas, 21 years old, heavy drinker).
3.5. Abstention Is Translated from Authoritative Assemblages to Self-Reflexive Assemblages
I still don’t drink (…); my thoughts about it are still the same. (…) And I have maybe developed a broader picture of why. That it’s not the best and you can have fun without drinking. Before, when I was younger, I thought mainly about religion, but when you get older and start thinking… that you are not aware of yourself and such [while drinking], that causes concerns. You get more concerned about yourself somehow. Especially if there are things happening that are not good, that you can’t trust everyone. But I discovered that later, for me, I should actually not drink. (…) I’ve reached this age and made my own decision, and I will continue with it, to not drink (Adina, 20 years old, abstainer).
I know what my father would think about parties and such. He doesn’t approve. He would be very disappointed if I wanted to do it, but I respect that he doesn’t want me to. So I won’t. (…) My friends in school, they know me, and they know that my father doesn’t like it. So, they wouldn’t ask. (…) He tells me, “You should not drink” since he knows about my sport and that. He told me, “It would ruin your exercise and condition”. (…) If I were an adult, he wouldn’t be angry (Mateo, 16 years old, abstainer).
I don’t drink because my exercise would crash. It ruins your health, (…) diet and the training program that I have set up myself. I don’t find it important to drink and such. You know you get addicted and such. (…) I don’t want to take the risk. (…) It’s sort of a matter of principle that I learned myself. (…) I can focus on studying and exercising instead of partying and drinking and spending money on such things (Mateo, 17 years old, abstainer).
Institutional Review Board Statement
Informed Consent Statement
Data Availability Statement
Conflicts of Interest
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|Alcohol Consumption||Wave 1/2017||Wave 2/2018||Wave 3/2019|
|Abstainers||15 (54%)||13 (46%)||9 (32%)|
|Moderate drinkers||7 (25%)||9 (32%)||8 (29%)|
|Heavy drinkers||6 (21%)||6 (21%)||11 (39%)|
|Total||28 (100%)||28 (100%)||28 (100%)|
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Samuelsson, E.; Törrönen, J.; Månsson, J.; Roumeliotis, F. Becoming Safe, Legal, Mature, Moderate, and Self-Reflexive: Trajectories of Drinking and Abstinence among Young People. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2022, 19, 3591. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph19063591
Samuelsson E, Törrönen J, Månsson J, Roumeliotis F. Becoming Safe, Legal, Mature, Moderate, and Self-Reflexive: Trajectories of Drinking and Abstinence among Young People. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health. 2022; 19(6):3591. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph19063591Chicago/Turabian Style
Samuelsson, Eva, Jukka Törrönen, Josefin Månsson, and Filip Roumeliotis. 2022. "Becoming Safe, Legal, Mature, Moderate, and Self-Reflexive: Trajectories of Drinking and Abstinence among Young People" International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health 19, no. 6: 3591. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph19063591