This study explores adolescent reasoning behind the use of alcohol at different types of parties, often house parties, and about the strategies to achieve maturity and prevent losing control. The data consist of semi-structured interviews with 23 adolescents aged 16-18 years (16 males and seven females). The interview transcripts were analysed using an inductive, thematic approach. All informants had personal experience with drinking at parties in different social settings. Our results suggest that the process of learning how to drink, often through failure in terms of being intoxicated, is important for adolescents' who strive to control their alcohol intake resulted in a good time and a break from everyday life. Furthermore, the results indicate that different social settings and party types engender different drinking patterns. Maturity and controlled conduct come across as desired ideals that provide a person with symbolic capital and thus, social status.
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