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A cross-cultural comparison of the effects of alcohol mixed with energy drink (AMED) consumption on overall alcohol consumption and related consequences

Benson, Sarah, Johnson, Sean J., Alford, Chris, Scholey, Andrew and Verster, Joris C. 2021. A cross-cultural comparison of the effects of alcohol mixed with energy drink (AMED) consumption on overall alcohol consumption and related consequences. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health 18 (14) , 7579. 10.3390/ijerph18147579

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There is a growing body of scientific literature examining the effects of alcohol mixed with energy drink (AMED) on alcohol consumption and related negative consequences, such as risky behavior or negative health effects. It is unknown whether differences in cultural context may influence these AMED effects. The current cross-cultural study compared the data of N = 6881 students from The Netherlands (N = 4424), UK (N = 1594), and Australia (N = 863). Demographics, alcohol consumption, its consequences, and motives for AMED consumption were assessed. Analyses included (a) between-groups comparison of AMED and alcohol only (AO) consumers, (b) within-subjects comparison of AMED and AO occasions among AMED consumers only, and (c) comparisons between the three countries. The between-groups analysis revealed that AMED consumers drink more alcohol than AO consumers (p < 0.001). AMED consumers differed from AO consumers in many other aspects. For example, AMED consumers were significantly more often a smoker and had higher risk-taking scores. Within subject analysis among AMED consumers showed that significantly less alcohol was consumed on AMED, compared to AO occasions (p < 0.001). These findings were observed for both typical drinking occasions and the past month’s heaviest drinking occasion, and were consistent across the three countries. Comparisons between countries revealed that on both AMED and AO occasions, the UK sample consumed significantly more alcohol than the Australian and Dutch samples. Across countries, neutral motives such as ‘I like the taste’ and ‘I wanted to drink something else’ were the most frequently reported motives for consuming AMED. The most notable difference between the countries was the finding that consuming AMED ‘To get drunk’ was endorsed significantly more often among the UK sample (45.6%) than the Australian (31.2%) and Dutch (8.0%) samples. Negative alcohol-related consequences were significantly less frequently reported for AMED occasions compared to AO occasions. Some country-specific consequences of AMED consumption were observed, but these were more likely related to characteristics of the country and their drinking culture (e.g., the Australian sample reported more often driving a car after AMED consumption compared to the other countries, and this pattern of results was also found for AO occasions). In conclusion, there were limited differences between countries with regard to demographics of consumers and motives for AMED consumption, but the UK sample consumed significantly more alcohol and reported the highest frequency of negative alcohol related consequences. Consistent across countries was the observation that AMED consumers consume significantly less alcohol on their past month heaviest AMED drinking occasion, compared to their past month heaviest AO drinking occasion

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Medicine
Centre for Trials Research (CNTRR)
Additional Information: This article is an open access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) license (https:// 4.0/)
Publisher: MDPI
ISSN: 1660-4601
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 16 February 2022
Date of Acceptance: 15 July 2021
Last Modified: 24 Feb 2022 10:15

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