A New Study Shows Stress Affects the Amount of Money Spent on Alcohol For Someone Suffering From Alcoholism
A recent study was conducted by a University of Georgia graduate student, who teamed up with a few professors. What were they looking to find out? They wanted to know if stress affects the amount of money spent on alcohol. They found that heavy alcohol drinkers will more likely purchase alcohol at higher prices and in larger amounts after a stressful situation. While drinking after a stressful situation is not that alarming, but amount they are willing to spend on alcohol is. The study showed they would buy more expensive types of alcohol after a stressful situation then they normally would.
They studied a group of people who were already heavy drinkers, possibly alcoholics. The researchers brought this group, individually into the lab and examined recent events in their lives. The research team then compared stressful events with non-stressful events that took place in each individual’s life.
On their next visit the participants were exposed to both the scripts the team wrote up based on the stressful stories that were told in the first visit. The team read the participants stressful scenarios and the neutral scenarios. After each of the scripts were read, the participants were asked to complete a survey of questions like, how many drinks they would purchase and at what price point they would buy them at. Owens, the grad student in charge states, “Based on their answers to that questionnaire following exposure to those two scripts, that’s how we were able to determine what their demand for alcohol was.”
The team determined that after hearing a scenario that dealt with a stressful situation, the participants were more willing to spend money on alcohol, to buy drinks that were expensive, and were more willing to spend a larger total amount on alcohol. Which shows that stress affects the amount of money spent on alcohol.
The participants also claimed they would drink even more during a stressful situation, if they had the money. Owens explains his calculations, “We also calculated the elasticity of demand, which means how responsive their consumption of alcohol was to changes in price.” Owens states, “We found that their demand for alcohol was less responsive to changes in price following the stressful induction than the control one.” This means that the participants did not care about the price in a stressful situation and were willing to waste their money on more expensive alcohol, to deal with their stress. Some would reason that the more expensive alcohol might give them a better feeling or escape than the normal alcohol they drink.
These results only show up for people who regularly drink. For people that do not drink, they would deal with stress in a different way, not by drinking. Owens states, “If they were already using alcohol to manage their stress, then it possibly could come out the same way, but for a lot of people, especially people who don’t drink at all, they will have other methods of dealing with stress.” Owens explains, “Those people would have no increase in the value of alcohol.”