Young adults' accounts of buying rounds of alcoholic drinks for friends: Implications for harm reduction

Sima Riazi, Sarah MacLean


Riazi, S., & MacLean, S. (2016). Young adults' accounts of buying rounds of alcoholic drinks for friends: Implications for harm reduction. The International Journal Of Alcohol And Drug Research, 5(3), 125-129. doi:

Aims: Buying or shouting rounds (purchasing alcoholic drinks for oneself and others at the same time) at on-premise licensed venues, such as nightclubs and bars, is a widespread Australian cultural practice. Our paper aims to provide detailed information on young adults’ attitudes and practices concerning round buying.

Methods: Thematic analysis of research interviews involving 60 young adults living in Melbourne was conducted using NVivo 10, yielding three key themes.

Findings: (1) Contexts where round buying occurred: young adults considered group size and culture, as well as bar activity, when determining whether they should round buy with their friends. In busy venues, round buying conveniently reduced the number of trips to and time waiting at the bar. Round buying was less likely to occur in groups larger than 4-5 people, as beyond this participants found it difficult to control the reciprocity of round buying, cost, and consumption of alcohol. (2) Sociability: while round buying did not occur within the friendship groups of all participants, it was seen by many as an important way of demonstrating connections with friends. (3) Consumption: overwhelmingly, participants believed that round buying increases their overall alcohol intake through implicit and explicit pressures to consume more.

Conclusions: Policies that limit round buying may offer a means to reduce alcohol-related harm. In addition, education that challenges round buying rules and expectations may help alleviate pressure on young adults to consume heavily.


alcohol; young adults; round buying; treating; intoxication; Australia

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