23 January, 2020

New study shows mental health benefits of having a “local” pub

New study shows mental health benefits of having a “local” pub

A new report shows that individuals who have a ‘local’ hotel or licensed club are more likely to be satisfied with their life, and have broader friendship and support networks.

Social-personality psychologist Dr Peter Jonason from the University of Western Sydney, who conducted the research on behalf of Lion Beer Australia, said that the social interaction provided by pubs and clubs has a tremendous importance in people’s lives.

“Of more than 1200 Australians that we surveyed, those who had a ‘local’ scored more positively on a number of measures of mental and social wellbeing,” Dr Jonason said.

“Setting aside for a moment the debate around alcohol consumption and physical health, it appears that having a ‘local’ can be good for your state of mind”.

Dr Jonason said that for many people, their local pub or club fulfils an evolutionary need for human contact in a society where such interactions are becoming increasingly hard to find.

“The ability to shake hands and put an arm around a friend are essential ingredients for coping with stress.

“‘Locals’ are a place where people can seek out social support, via physical contact and intimate interactions, when they have nowhere and no one else to turn to.”

Lion MD James Brindley noted: "Social connectedness is important for our wellbeing. Overseas studies have suggested that having a ‘local’ pub or club can help people build their personal and community networks and we wanted to see if our pubs and clubs played a similar role in the lives of every day Australians."

Key findings of the research are as follows:

1. People who have a local are more trusting and satisfied with life.

2. They also have broader friendship and support networks, and identify more closely with their community.

3. Most people who have a local say they use it for socialising and drinking with other people. Only six percent of people said they drank there alone.

4. Beer is the most commonly consumed beverage for those who have a local

5. Women and men appear to socialise in their locals in different ways, with men more likely to engage in intimate conversations and women more likely to converse in larger groups.

The research expands on a similar study conducted in UK by Oxford academic Professor Robin Dunbar, who was also involved in the development of this study.

The research combined an online survey of 1200 randomly selected participants, weighted to match the general population, with an observational study of conversational dynamics in licensed venues across the country.

"We are excited to launch this report and continue the conversation about the importance of local pubs and clubs in keeping people right across Australia in touch with their communities," Brindley (above) noted on LinkedIn.

"We were also delighted to share the report with MPs and Ministers at NSW Parliament recently including the Minister for Racing Paul Toole and Minister for Police Troy Grant. Two from Bathurst, one from Dubbo. Go Central West!"

Click here to read the full study