Thursday 26 May 2016 10:06 am

Why drinking isn't really as much fun as you think: It's more about the socialising than the boozing

Scientists have finally put a number on just how much better drinking can make a given situation — and it looks like people are right when they say you don't need alcohol to have a good time. 

People were asked to rate their happiness on a scale of one to 100 at various points throughout the day for a study carried out by app Mappiness. It included roughly two million responses from about 31,000 people between 2010 and 2013.

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The average person drinking alcohol rated their happiness 10.8 points higher on the 1-100 scale than someone who wasn't, according to the study by academics at the London School of Economics.

But because most people were drinking in fun situations – watching sports or attending a party – there was a socialising factor that knocked the overall fun score down.

When controlled for this, boozing added just 3.88 points to the 1-100 happiness scale. 

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This suggests booze has only a marginal effect on happiness if people are already doing something fun. But if you are doing an unpleasant activity — such as commuting or waiting — alcohol will may it significantly more enjoyable.

Somewhat unsurprisingly, the study also found that drinking doesn't lead to a long-term increase in overall happiness or life satisfaction.