An eye opener, but mostly for others

Mimmi Eriksson Tinghög (Centre for Social Research on Alcohol and Drugs (SoRAD), Department of Criminology, Stockholm University, Stockholm, Sweden)

Health Education

ISSN: 0965-4283

Publication date: 15 February 2013



The aim of this study is to examine the rarely heard opinions of participants in alcohol educations – in this case, employees at three workplaces. What opinions were found in relation to the initiative, its content and effects, and what are the underlying notions from which these opinions derive?


The study material consisted of ten group interviews and questionnaire responses (n:298) with both fixed and open response alternatives. The data were analysed using thematic analysis and frequency tables.


The alcohol educations appear to be perceived as legitimate and relatively unproblematic. Most opinions focused on the basic approaches used in alcohol education programmes at a more general level; there should be no lecturing and no moralizing and the content and lecturer should be trustworthy. One important finding is that education programmes like these are perceived as being useful, but mostly for others. These opinions appeared to be associated with two overarching themes in particular: paternalism and beneficence.


The results of the study provide some idea of the value placed on education programmes of this kind from the perspective of the participants. Alcohol education programmes are perceived as being important and justified since they produce benefits for others, for those at risk. If the education programme is presented as being health promotive rather than risk reducing it is more likely to be perceived as relating to everyone, not only “the others”. The results may be of relevance for those planning and performing many types of health education programmes.



Eriksson Tinghög, M. (2013), "An eye opener, but mostly for others", Health Education, Vol. 113 No. 2, pp. 144-159.

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