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Alcohol and Social Integration in Medical School

Tue 13th

12:40 - 13:00

Drinking alcohol has been found to be commonplace amongst medical students across the globe, similar to the general student population. Studies have previously measured the rates of drinking in students, however very few have taken a qualitative approach similar to our study to uncover why alcohol has been found to feature so prominently in the lives of medical students. We found that alcohol in medical school is the central focus of many social programmes. Although the drinking culture is embraced by some students, others are isolated by it including younger/older students, religious students and those who are recovering from alcoholism. Niche groups are often formed as a result of this social exclusion. In addition to the existing education about negative health consequences of drinking alcohol, education about the social consequences of the medical school “drinking culture” is warranted, as is further research to determine whether our findings are generalisable to other medical schools, other student bodies, and society at large. We need to understand the pressures and socialisation processes of students to understand drinking behaviour. Only then can we begin to create opportunities for change in relation to alcohol-driven social integration and isolation.

Rafa Abushaala


College of MVLS

“It’s not what you do but who you do it with…”We are a group of 4th year medical students who had very little experience of research. However, after an inspiring lecture from a doctor who shared his personal story about recovery from alcoholism, we started to wonder if the drinking culture he described at medical school still existed in this day and age. So, we decided we wanted to try our luck at some research.The most rewarding part of doing qualitative research using focus groups was that we got people talking and reflecting on the culture surrounding alcohol in medical school.We really weren’t sure what we were getting ourselves into, but it’s proved exciting and we’re looking forward to sharing our experience and results with you!


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