15 October, 2018

New study shows psychological and social benefits of having a “local”

15 October 2018: A new report shows that individuals who have a ‘local’ bar, pub, hotel or club are more likely to be satisfied with their life, and have broader friendship and support networks.

The findings of the research, conducted by social-personality psychologist Dr Peter Jonason from the University of Western Sydney on behalf of Lion Beer Australia, comes as scientific evidence mounts to suggest loneliness and isolation are growing public health concerns.

Dr Jonason said there is little doubt that social interaction has a tremendous importance in people’s lives.

“Of more than 1,200 Australians that were engaged in the research, those who had a ‘local’ scored more positively on a number of measures of mental and social wellbeing,” Dr Jonason said.

“It’s 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 go to.”

Stephen Ferguson, CEO of the Australian Hotels Association said front bars and pubs are part of the fabric of towns and neighbourhoods of all sizes across the country.

“For a lot of people, their ‘local’ is a major part of the way in which they interact with their community” Mr Ferguson said.

“Whether it’s celebrating the big moments in life or having a quiet conversation on a Sunday afternoon, many Australians make these social connections at their ‘local’.”

ClubsNSW CEO Anthony Ball said clubs are committed to supporting the local communities they serve.

“From bowling clubs to RSLs, sporting to workers’ clubs, these truly diverse venues know the magic of bringing people together – it’s what they do best,” Mr Ball said.

“Registered clubs are often a town’s main meeting point where people can go for a drink, meal and to socialise, so it’s heartening to see this research which confirms the wide range of benefits clubs provide.”

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 who identified as having a local 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;
  6. Those who lived in rural areas, who were light/moderate drinkers, and had a local, had greater general mental health and less anxiety than those without a local.

The report addresses and considers consumption levels, cognisant of the broader importance of moderate and responsible alcohol consumption.

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

It combined a behavioural questionnaire of 1,200 randomly selected participants, weighted to match the general population, with an observational study of conversational dynamics in licensed venues across the country, culminating in more than 260 hours of field work.

Full Report







For more information please contact:

Elizabeth Bold

External Relations Manager, Lion Beer Australia

Phone: +61 421 765 446