The four types of Australian drinkers

We’ve been called a nation of drinkers, but what kind of drinker are you?

A Victorian study has poured punters into four types of tipplers: the initiator, the follower, the moderator and the protector.

At least 40 per cent of us are an “initiator” and drink at nearly every social event, according to the latest research by VicHealth and RMIT University.

Those of us who are “followers” account for 13 per cent of drinkers, according to the research, released on Thursday, while “moderators” make up the second most-common category with 26 per cent.

RMIT Associate Professor Mike Reid, who led the survey of 2500 people and in-depth interviews with 187 drinkers, says Australia’s deeply ingrained booze culture sees many believe they need a reason not to drink.

“Initiators and followers are clearly the most problematic,” he said of the four categories.

“One pushes the boundaries and drinks too much, while the other follows, thinking if they don’t they will be seen in a negative light.”

He said more work needed to be done to encourage people to drink less and others to accept them when they choose not to pick up a pint.

VicHealth CEO Jerril Rechter said the research also showed how alcohol had become so entrenched in Australian life that it was acceptable to drink everywhere from baby showers and picnics to work lunches and functions.

“We can’t ignore the fact that this is problematic,” she said.

Alcohol has been linked to more than 60 medical conditions, she added.

A 2012 state government study also found the cost of alcohol-related harm had reached more than $4 billion a year in Victoria alone.

The research led to creating the website, where users can find out which category of drinking they fall under.

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