Journal of Community & Applied Social Psychology

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Volume 3 Issue 1 (April 1993), Pages fmi-fmi, 1-86

Alcohol‐related knowledge and attitudes in people with a mild learning disability – the effects of a ‘sensible drinking’ group (pages 29-40)


Alcohol‐related knowledge and attitudes in people with a mild learning disability, who were either living, or being prepared to live, in relatively independent conditions in the community, were assessed through a structured interview format. Compared with non‐learning‐disabled teenagers, adults and a hospitalized patient sample, alcohol‐related knowledge in the people with a learning disability was found to be significantly poorer, alcohol was reported as having particularly negative effects and susceptibility to social pressure to drink alcohol was greater. A ‘sensible drinking’ group, taking a social skills and influences approach to alcohol education, was conducted with a subgroup of the individuals with a learning disability. The group format and methods, including in vivo sessions in a public house, are described. Follow‐up evaluations suggested some significant positive changes in knowledge, attitudes and sensible drinking skills. It is concluded that this population, which is increasingly living, or being moved into, independent conditions in the community, is at least as vulnerable to social influences on alcohol use and abuse as are young people. As with young people, the usefulness of making available such alcohol‐education programmes as described in this study, is discussed.

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