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Olivia Sexton

Name: Olivia Sexton

Based at: University of Sheffield

Supervisors: Dr John Holmes, Dr Melissa Oldham, Professor Matt Field and Professor Petra Meier (University of Sheffield)

Project title: What is the best way to measure event-level alcohol consumption?

Project summary: Drinking an excessive amount of alcohol is associated with a number of negative consequences such as alcohol-related violence, injury and the development of chronic health conditions.  When measuring how much alcohol people drink, surveys have typically asked respondents to report how much alcohol they normally consume on a weekly basis. Whilst this approach provides an indication of how much people drink on average, it does not show how an individual’s drinking patterns can vary depending on the drinking occasion.

The context of a drinking occasion, otherwise defined as where, when, with whom and why an individual drinks, has been found to influence an individual’s drinking behaviour, with certain drinking occasions, such as drinking on a big night out, more likely to result in increased alcohol consumption and experience of alcohol-related harms.

Through a series of studies, this PhD will explore which contextual characteristics of a drinking occasion are associated with increased alcohol consumption. Following this, the PhD will aim to develop event-level questions to be used within a drinking survey which will accurately capture how the context of a drinking occasion influences drinking-related outcomes.

Practice engagement:To disseminate the findings of my PhD, I am developing relationships with public health researchers, policy makers and charity advocates by attending and presenting at conferences. I also plan to publish four studies from my PhD.

Public engagement: In designing a set of questions which will be used to measure the context of a drinking occasion, I will be running a series of focus groups to allow members of the public to provide feedback on these questions and be actively involved in the research process. Additionally, as part of my PhD, I plan to attend public engagement events within the local community to discuss findings from my PhD projects.

Find out more about Olivia’s work.

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