You are what you drink

Different types of alcohol cause different emotional responses

Different types of alcohol elicit different emotional responses, but spirits are most frequently associated with feelings of aggression, research shows.

glass of wine

An international study of almost 30,000 18-34-year-olds has found that red wine is most strongly linked to relaxation, followed by beer.

Spirits are the least likely to elicit this type of response.

In fact, drinking spirits tends to draw out more negative feelings than other types of alcohol, say the UK authors.

Overall, 30% of the participants report feeling aggressive when drinking spirits compared with only 7.1% when drinking red wine.

But the authors have found that spirits do have an upside in that they are more likely to elicit feelings of energy and confidence than beer or wine.

More than half (around 59%) of those interviewed associate these drinks with feelings of energy and confidence, and more than four out of 10 (42.5%) associate them with feeling sexy.

However, the researchers point out that responses differed by gender, demographic and category of alcohol dependency.

Women and young people are significantly more likely than men to associate each feeling (except for aggression) with all types of alcohol, while men and heavy drinkers are more likely to get aggressive.

“Alcohol already plays a large part in violence in many countries, but the concept that consumption of different alcohol products may be more likely to result in violence is rarely reflected in public health responses,” the authors note.

“Understanding emotions associated with alcohol consumption is imperative to addressing alcohol misuse, providing insight into what emotions influence drink choice between different groups in the population.”

Read the full study here