Bartenders’ and Rum Shopkeepers’ Knowledge of and Attitudes Toward “Problem Drinking” in Saint Vincent and the Grenadines

Maryam Zafer, Shiyuan Liu, Craig L. Katz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Harmful alcohol use encompasses a spectrum of habits, including heavy episodic drinking (HED) which increases the risk of acute alcohol-related harms. The prevalence of HED in Saint Vincent and the Grenadines (SVG) is 5.7% among the overall population aged 15 years and older and 10.2% among drinkers. Responsible Beverage Service interventions train alcohol servers to limit levels of intoxication attained by customers and decrease acute alcohol-related harms. The objectives of this study were to determine bar tenders’ and rum shopkeepers’ knowledge of and attitudes toward problem drinking and willingness to participate in server training. Researchers used convenience and purposive sampling to recruit 30 participants from Barraouile, Kingstown, and Calliaqua to participate in semi-structured interviews designed to explore study objectives. Results and conclusions were derived from grounded theory analysis. Heavy episodic drinking is common but not stigmatized. Heavy drinking is considered a “problem” if the customer attains a level of disinhibition causing drunken and disruptive or injurious behavior. Bartenders and rum shopkeepers reported intervening with visibly intoxicated patrons and encouraging cessation of continued alcohol consumption. Participants cited economic incentives, prevention of alcohol-related harms, and personal morals as motivators to prevent drunkenness. Respondents acknowledged that encouraging responsible drinking was a legitimate part of their role and were favorable to server training. However, there were mixed opinions about the intervention’s perceived efficacy given absent community-wide standards on preventing intoxication and limitations of existing alcohol policy. Given respondents’ motivation and lack of standardized alcohol server training in SVG, mandated server training can be an effective strategy when promoted as one piece of a multi-component alcohol policy.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)801-815
Number of pages15
JournalPsychiatric Quarterly
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 1 2018


  • Alcohol server training
  • Alcohol use disorders
  • Caribbean
  • Heavy episodic drinking
  • Responsible beverage service
  • Saint Vincent and the Grenadines


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