• alcohol;
  • pre-drinking;
  • young people;
  • panel mobile survey;
  • cross-national survey


Introduction and Aims

Young people drinking heavily before going out to bars and clubs is associated with alcohol-related harm and therefore of great public concern. This study examines whether pre-drinkers consume more alcohol than non-pre-drinkers on an event-specific night out in England and Denmark—two European countries known for their excessive youth drinking.

Design and Methods

An event-specific survey of 1298 young people conducted in 50 bars, pubs and nightclubs in England and Denmark and follow-up interviews conducted via mobile surveys (n = 580). The questionnaire measured demographics, socioeconomic status, frequency of intoxication and alcohol unit intake before and during the young people's night out.


A mixed linear model performed on the panel mobile survey shows that pre-drinkers in England and Denmark consume 9.185 (P < 0.001) and 7.554 (P < 0.001) units, respectively, more than the non-pre-drinkers. However, in both countries pre-drinkers consume 3.430 (P < 0.05) and 3.141 (P < 0.001) units less alcohol on-premises than the non-pre-drinkers.

Discussion and Conclusion

Pre-drinking is a widespread phenomenon in England and Denmark, with more than half of young people pre-drinking on an event-specific night out. Pre-drinking contributes significantly to high-intensity drinking, as it does not preclude further drinking in bars, clubs and pubs. Thus, pre-drinking is a major target for public measures seeking to reduce young people's intoxication-related drinking and alcohol-related harm. [Østergaard J, Skov PR. Do pre-drinkers consume more alcohol than non-pre-drinkers on an event-specific night out? A cross-national panel mobile survey of young people's drinking in England and Denmark. Drug Alcohol Rev 2014;33:376–384]