Here's How Millennial Women Really Feel About Moderate Drinking

Photographed by Alice Gao.
We may already be in the thick of Dry January, but a new survey suggests that it's just the beginning. In fact, the data shows that the majority of millennials are really getting into the idea of drinking in moderation throughout the year.

The survey, commissioned by Heineken as part of its global Enjoy Heineken Responsibly campaign, asked 5,000 beer drinkers between the ages of 21-35 about their drinking habits. Most respondents (75% overall and 76% of women) said they moderated the amount of alcohol they drank on the majority of their nights out. And over a third (38% overall and 41% of women) said they did so every time they went out. "Moderation" here means drinking, but not to the point at which alcohol impairs your personal control.

Why is drinking moderately so interesting to millennials? Goal Auzeen Saedi, PhD, a clinical psychologist specializing in millennial behavior, says it's a combination of the circumstances under which we grew up and the values baked into our personalities. “This generation’s behavior is largely a reflection of the times they are living in," Dr. Saedi tells R29 in an email, "they grew up in a period of economic stress, competing for jobs, so they feel they have to be the best that they can be.”

On top of that, we're a generation that feels pressure to be responsible: "They want to be accountable and feel they’ve had an impact on the world," says Dr. Saedi. "They want a meaningful life, fulfillment at work, and they are highly intentional in the way they live."

They want to be accountable and feel they’ve had an impact on the world.

Dr. Goal Auzeen Saedi
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So it's not totally surprising that this has also shaped the way we drink. The survey found that both men and women are shifting their priorities for a good night out from alcohol to good friends and food. And, luckily, about half of the respondents said they would respect a friend's choice not to drink without any teasing.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, excessive drinking is responsible for 88,000 deaths every year in the U.S. And our drinking habits at this age are especially important since, as previous research has shown, this is the time in our life when both men and women are drinking the most. However, women drink less than men on average throughout their lives. Sticking to moderation now could set us up for a healthier year — and maybe even a healthier life. Cheers!
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