By Andy Young

New research from Oxford University in the UK has revealed that visiting your local pub can make you happier, improve life satisfaction and bring you more close friends.

The report, which was written by Professor Robin Dunbar for the Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA), outlines that having a strong social network significantly improves both your happiness and your overall health. The more people you know, and the more often you see them, the better you feel and the healthier you are.

Oxford University's professor Dunbar said: "Friendship and community are probably the two most important factors influencing our health and wellbeing. 

"Making and maintaining friendships, however, is something that has to be done face-to-face: the digital world is simply no substitute. Given the increasing tendency for our social life to be online rather than face-to-face, having relaxed accessible venues where people can meet old friends and make new ones becomes ever more necessary."

Pubs play an integral role in providing a venue for face-to-face meetings, which are vital to maintaining friendships and as part of his research Professor Dunbar undertook a series of studies and had the following findings:

  • People who have a ‘local' and those patronising community-type pubs have more close friends on whom they can call for support, and are happier and more trusting of others than those who do not have a local. They also feel more engaged with their wider community.
  • A pub is more likely to be seen as someone's 'local' if it is close to where they live or work.
  • A limited alcohol intake improves wellbeing and some (though not all) social skills, just as it has been shown to improve other cognitive abilities and health, but these abilities decline as alcohol intake increases beyond a moderate level.
  • Those who were casual visitors to the pub, and those in larger pubs, scored themselves as having consumed significantly more alcohol than those drinking in their "local" or smaller community pubs.

CAMRA was understandably delighted with the study and how it emphasised the importance of the local pub.

CAMRA chief executive, Tim Page, said: "Pubs offer a social environment to enjoy a drink with friends in a responsible, supervised community setting. Nothing is more significant for individuals, the social groupings to which they belong and the country as a whole as our personal and collective wellbeing. 

"The role of community pubs in ensuring that wellbeing cannot be overstated. For that reason, we all need to do what we can to ensure that everyone has a 'local' near to where they live or work."

The Shout Team

The leading online news service for Australia's beer, wine, spirits and hospitality industries.

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