Process versus Outcome-Oriented Drinking: An Exploratory Study of Wine and Moderate Drinking Occasions among Young Adults in California
Antin, Tamar M. J., Paschall, Mallie J., Nygaard, Peter, Contemporary Drug Problems
Wine is becoming an increasingly popular beverage in the United States with beer consumption on a slow decline (Arnold, 2006). The Wine Market Council, a nonprofit trade association for the wine industry, reports that wine consumption has increased dramatically in the United States over the past 10 years and suggests that a growing number of young adults, particularly the Millennial generation, have contributed to the industry's success (Wine Market Council, 2006). As a result, U.S. winemakers are developing marketing efforts directed at the 21-30-year-old age group (Howard, 2005).
Research has shown that wine is more often associated with moderate drinking (i.e., 1-2 drinks per occasion) than other beverage types like hard alcohol and beer (Jensen et al., 2002; Paschall & Lipton, 2005; Rogers & Greenfield, 1999; Smart & Walsh, 1999; Smart & Walsh, 1995). For example, Jensen and colleagues (2002) found that people who prefer to drink beer, as opposed to wine, are more at risk for heavy or binge drinking episodes. Because young adults account for approximately 50% of the adult drinking population in the United States (O'Hare, 2001) and are more likely to drink excessively (Moss, Chen, & Yi, 2007), it is important to further our understanding of moderate (i.e., safer) drinking among young adults because it could have important implications for public health and safety.
Much research has investigated moderate drinking, particularly with respect to health benefits (Gmel, Gutjahr, & Rehm, 2003; Gunzerath, Faden, Zakhari, & Warren, 2004; Rehm, Greenfield, & Rogers, 2001 ; Troncoso, Garcia- Parrilla, & Martinez-Ortega, 2001) and social benefits (Chowdhury, Ramakrishna, Chakraborty, & Weiss, 2006; de Garine & de Garine, 2001; Heath, 2000). However, very little is known about the context of moderate drinking occasions, especially among young adults who are at risk for heavy episodic drinking. Understanding the unique and distinct features of moderate drinking occasions for young adults has important implications for designing successful harm reduction approaches for this age group.
This article reports the results of an exploratory, qualitative study that investigated moderate drinking occasions among young adults, specifically by considering the social context of wine consumption. Not only does a better understanding of moderate drinking contribute to the development of strategies to promote safer drinking, but also it provides a more comprehensive understanding of the role and meaning of alcohol in daily life. Because there is relatively little research literature focused on moderate drinking among young adults in the United States, this research provides a unique perspective from which to advance theoretical discussions and develop hypotheses for future research.
An exploratory study design gave us the opportunity to more fully understand young adults' knowledge, behaviors, and attitudes associated with moderate drinking. Several limitations of small scale, exploratory projects exist, including their inability to produce generalizable findings. Nevertheless, it is important to recognize their unique theoretical contributions (Stebbins, 2001). Suggested directions for future research are the main outcomes of this study.
Recruitment and sample
Because wine drinking is increasing among young adults in the United States and is associated with moderate alcohol consumption, we purposely recruited participants who consumed wine at least occasionally. This type of theoretically-driven sample was used to ensure that selected respondents would be able to speak about moderate drinking, the main topic of study (Gobo, 2004). Specifically, we recruited young adults from the San Francisco Bay area, an area close to the wine producing regions of the Sonoma and Napa valleys.
To solicit volunteers, recruitment advertisements were posted to two online communities - the San Francisco Craigslist site (a classified forum) and local universities' MySpace pages (a social networking site). …