“We Were Totally Supportive, of Course”: How People Talk About Supporting a Significant Other to Stop or Reduce Their Drinking

Ashlea Bartram, Shona Crabb, Scott Hanson-Easey, Jaklin Eliott

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Despite the strong influence our significant others have on health behaviors such as alcohol consumption, little is known about when they are willing to provide support for changing such behaviors. We conducted interviews with 13 Australian adults who had a partner, friend, or family member who stopped or significantly reduced their alcohol consumption within the past 2 years, to understand how these significant others accounted for providing support for this behavior change as reasonable. Through thematic discourse analysis, we identified three types of accounts: (a) deontological, referring to duty or obligation to support others; (b) consequentialist, where costs for providing support were minimized or balanced; and (c) relational, attending to the importance of maintaining relationships. By identifying the principles people draw on to justify supporting a significant other who changes their alcohol consumption, this study enhances our understanding about when significant others are likely to support health behavior changes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1120-1131
Number of pages12
JournalQualitative Health Research
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2019
Externally publishedYes


  • alcohol
  • Australia
  • health behavior
  • health promotion
  • qualitative interviews
  • social influence
  • social support

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health

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