New research from academics at the University of Oxford found that having a ‘local’ pub may be linked to emotional wellbeing.
Using data from three different studies – a questionnaire, a national survey by the Campaign for Real Ale (Camra) and an observational experiment looking at behaviour in pubs - research found that people who frequent a regular pub tend to feel more socially engaged, and are...
more likely to trust other members of their community.
The first study surveyed 2,254 adults over the age of 18, and asked them questions about how often they visited the pub, where they tended to drink and socialise, and whether they had a particular place they frequented.
They were then assessed on their:
- personal happiness
- perceived worthwhileness of life
- satisfaction with life
Of those surveyed, 19.8 per cent confirmed that they did have a local, and on all three categories, these were the ones that scored highest.
People with a local scored particularly high in being trusting, and had more intimate friendships than those who were non-drinkers, or those who drink alcohol but did not have a local.
The second study, which observed the behaviour of those in conversation in pubs and bars, found that those who drink alcohol in pubs tended to have longer unbroken conversation with others.
In city bars, people tended to check their phone often, and drop out of conversation more often than at pubs.
This indicates that local venues tend to foster better social cohesion.
Conversations in community-type pubs were longer, more focused and less liable to fragmentation than those in city centre bars.
The third study looked at how much alcohol people consumed, found that the blood alcohol level did not differ significantly in different venues. The only notable element was that, in city bars, parties tended to be much larger than “the normative limit for conversations”.
Alcohol also triggers an endorphin response, which, historically, was essential to social bonding in primates.
Drinking in a ‘local’ reproduces this effect, leading to better community bonding, and people who are more socially engaged and feel more content with their lives.