The complex causes of binge drinking

Both personal and societal factors play a role in a person's binge drinking habits, new research has suggested. Findings to be published in Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research show that economic fluctuations, social norms and political instability can all impact the amount somebody imbibes - with these elements varying depending on country and culture.

According to the investigation, people born after World War II are more likely to binge drink and may be prone to developing alcohol use disorders (AUDs).

In addition, it was demonstrated that the gender gap relating to alcohol misuse is also becoming increasingly narrow in a number of countries.

Katherine Keyes, a post-doctoral Fellow in Epidemiology at Columbia University - which boasts a history of more than 250 years - said the research suggested younger people, especially females, are at increasing risk of AUDs.

Ms Keyes added: "Given that alcoholism among women is increasing, there is a need for specific public health prevention and intervention efforts."

Health Psychologist Professor Martin Hagger from Curtin University, Western Australia, commented: "This research is consistent with UK government figures regarding increases in maladaptive patterns of alcohol intake, particularly in younger people and female populations, such as binge drinking. 

"Motives surrounding these kinds of drinking patterns tend to reflect a general culture of drinking and equating drinking to excess with having a good time. 

"It seems that young drinkers feel that they cannot enjoy a night out without drinking to excess and much of young people's discourse about their nights out and drinking behaviour makes reference to how drunk they were and how much alcohol they consumed. 

"There is also evidence that alcohol intake increases during times of economic hardship and the fact that there is an abundance of cheap, discounted alcohol in supermarkets and the off trade means that availability is not a barrier for young drinkers."