How do parents and friends accommodate alcohol consumption in young Thai people? A qualitative focus group study
2019, 2019 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group. Despite a magnitude of quantitative data demonstrating the influence of parents and friends on youth drinking, few qualitative studies have explored these relationships in non-Western settings, including Thailand. This study aims to explore the perceived roles of parents and friends in influencing young Thais' drinking. The data come from seventy-two 20-24-year-old students participating in focus groups. This study found that young people's first alcohol experiences were often introduced by family members early in their childhood. Later in adolescence, their social contexts shifted from the family unit to focus more on their friends. They perceived drinking to be a norm and drank to enhance social conformity. Parental communication and approaches appeared to be critical in influencing youth drinking patterns. Surprisingly, especially in the context of limited information about the prevention of alcohol-related harm, young people created a self-regulated harm reduction intervention using a designated light drinker. This study suggests that family-support interventions should be introduced in conjunction with social norms and peer-based interventions to enhance parents' awareness about their influences on youth drinking. The agency of the young people in this study also suggests that self-regulated harm reduction approaches may be considered to complement the abstinence-standpoint policy in Thailand.