Chapter

Women and alcohol

John Roche, Eilish Gilvarry and Ed Day

in Oxford Textbook of Women and Mental Health

Published on behalf of Oxford University Press

ISBN: 9780199214365
Published online July 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780199640454 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/med/9780199214365.003.0022

Series: Oxford Textbooks

Women and alcohol

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The second half of the 20th century saw an enormous change in the role of women in society, and with this came a shift in their relationship with alcohol. The number of women in paid employment has steadily risen in the developed world since the 1960s, and this has increased access to alcohol. More opportunities to drink have coincided with an increase in social acceptability of alcohol consumption and drunkenness in women. In the United Kingdom (UK) cheap alcohol and targeted advertising have combined with a rise in the number of women in their 20s and 30s with few family responsibilities and high disposable income to fuel an increase in consumption (Plant and Plant 2006). For example, female undergraduate students may feel pressured to drink as much as men to be socially accepted (Young et al. 2005).

These issues are significant, as there appear to be gender differences in alcohol-related morbidity, with women tending to drink less than men though they are more prone to alcohol-related problems. In addition there are specific problems that only occur in women, for example, issues around pregnancy. In this chapter the epidemiology of the problem is summarized and areas of specific consideration with regard to women and alcohol are explored.

Chapter.  5236 words. 

Subjects: Psychiatry ; Addiction Medicine

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