CROSS-CULTURAL studies on alcoholism have amply demonstrated the various meanings which can be attached to drinking behavior. Jellinek has noted that the meaning of "excessive drinking" varies considerably.1 Research has also shown that in American society different meanings are attached to drinking, depending on socioeconomic strata, ethnicity, and religion. However, the current emphasis on "excessive drinking" as pathological has caused studies to neglect to some extent the impact of the social situation on drinking behavior and, more importantly, on the relationship between the kinds of social control exercised in various social situations and the effect upon the drinker's self-concept. Research in this area has concentrated, rather, upon the psychological and social characteristics of drinkers, and the possible physiological and psychological symptoms drinking may produce.
This paper grows essentially out of the notion that drinking constitutes role behavior. That is, the
Lovald K, Neuwirth G. Exposed and Shielded DrinkingDrinking as Role Behavior and Some Consequences for Social Control and Self-Concept. Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1968;19(1):95-103. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.1968.01740070097014