Alcohol and identity building

Throughout their development, individuals learn by analyzing the behavior of others and learning from their experiences, or by trying things out for themselves. Young people are no exception to this rule. In adolescence, they seek to know themselves and find their place in society. To do so, they explore, experiment, test their limits and often try to defy the forbidden, sometimes taking ill-considered risks. It's obvious that most young people will try alcoholic beverages at some point. Some will decide to give it up, others will use it in moderation, others will find it a way of easing their tensions or will take refuge in it or drink it excessively on special occasions, or on a daily basis. Each of these behaviors will be associated with a social stereotype, ranging from the image of the "bon vivant", to that of the notorious alcoholic, to that of the responsible person, to that of the heavy drinker.. 

In fact, individuals build their identity by confronting the norms and values shared by their family, peers and society. Sometimes they conform to them, sometimes they oppose them. For teenagers, drinking alcohol can be a way of expressing their opposition to adult authority and acquiring autonomy, or a way of asserting their identity, originality or, on the contrary, their similarity, their adherence to certain values or even their membership of a particular group.

Finally, the consumption of alcoholic beverages can symbolize a step towards maturity. After that, it will often be associated with relaxation and fun, two values widely emphasized by our society, particularly through advertising.

updated on 4/27/24

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