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Solitary and Social Drinking in South Korea: An Exploratory Study
Ju Moon Park, Aeree Sohn, Chanho Choi
Osong Public Health Res Perspect. 2020;11(6):365-372.   Published online December 22, 2020
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  • 5 Web of Science
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AbstractAbstract PDF

This study aimed to identify differences in drinking norms, heavy drinking, and motives between types of drinkers (abstainers, solitary, and social drinkers) in a representative sample of Korean adults.


An online survey of people registered on the electoral roll were randomly invited to be part of the “National Korean Drinking Culture Study” conducted in 2018 (n = 3,015). Participants included 1,532 men and 1,469 women aged 19–60 years. Questions included the number of times they drank in the last month, what they drank, and the volume drank. The amount of pure alcohol consumed was calculated. Drinking norms, motives, and types were determined in the survey questions.


Solitary drinkers were more likely to be divorced or separated, less educated, and marginally employed. Solitary drinking peaked in those in their 30s (18.5%) and social drinkers in their 50s (68.1%). Solitary drinkers drank more frequently compared with social drinkers (6.1 vs. 3.6 times per month, p < 0.001), and consumed a significantly larger quantity of alcohol (69.5 g vs. 46.8 g per week). Solitary drinkers were more accepting of drinking-related behaviors in diverse situations compared with social drinkers. The regression analysis revealed that personal drinking motives were the most important factor influencing the frequency and quantity of alcohol consumption in both solitary and social drinking.


Solitary drinkers may be more vulnerable to alcohol abuse than social drinkers.


Citations to this article as recorded by  
  • Modeling clustered count data using mixed effect discrete Weibull regression model with cubic splines
    Hanna Yoo
    Communications in Statistics - Simulation and Comp.2024; : 1.     CrossRef
  • Drinking as Leisure Activity among Working-Age Men
    Minhye Kim
    Journal of Social Science.2023; 34(1): 243.     CrossRef
  • Development and Validation of a Questionnaire for Assessing Drug Use Motives in the General Population in South Korea
    Joon-Yong Yang, Minhye Kim, Aeree Sohn
    Healthcare.2023; 12(1): 86.     CrossRef
  • Do Drinking Norms, Motives, and Drinking Behaviors Differ by Age Group among Korean Women?
    Aeree Sohn, Sarang Jang
    International Journal of Environmental Research an.2022; 19(6): 3345.     CrossRef
  • Exploring Contributing Factors of Solitary Drinking among Hong Kong Chinese Adolescents and Young Adults: A Descriptive Phenomenology
    Ka-Yan Ho, Katherine-Ka-Wai Lam, Cynthia-Sau-Ting Wu, Man-Nok Tong, Lai-Ngo Tang, Yim-Wah Mak
    International Journal of Environmental Research an.2022; 19(14): 8371.     CrossRef

PHRP : Osong Public Health and Research Perspectives