The Culture of Older Women’s Drinking in Australia

Armstrong, Kerry A., Obst, Patricia L., Thunstrom, Hanna, Haydon, Helen, & Davey, Jeremy D. (2010) The Culture of Older Women’s Drinking in Australia. In International Council on Alcohol, Drugs and Traffic Safety Conference (T2010), 22 - 26 August 2010, Oslo, Norway.

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The purpose of this investigation was to undertake pilot research to develop an understanding of the current culture of older Australian women’s (35-50 years) drinking behaviour from a uniquely female perspective. Methods Two separate focus group interviews were undertaken with women (N = 11) aged between 35 and 50 years living in South-East Queensland, Australia. Women were asked to openly discuss how and why they drink alcohol (ie., their regular drinking behaviour), how this has changed over time, and the attitudes and values that influence their behaviour. Results Participants reported that their consumption of alcohol was more regulated and controlled and although some women drank more frequently, the quantity consumed at each drinking occasion had decreased significantly. Occasional consumption of large amounts of alcohol tended to be the result of ‘incidental drinking’ as opposed to ‘determined drinking’. The reasons for alcohol consumption were found to be internal as well as social. Internal reasons included stress relief, increased relaxation and self reward. Further, alcohol was used as a social lubricant. This cohort also reported being influenced by the drinking patterns of their partners. Social group matching was however found to have a negative impact on alcohol consumption as social groups most commonly endorsed lesser levels of intoxication. Further, the women reported that they were of an age in which they felt excessive drinking to be ‘undignified’. Personal reasons such as vocational and family responsibilities further modified the levels of consumption for individual women. Finally, it was reported that perceived health risks that can result from excessive and/or repetitive drinking led to a decreased in consumption. Conclusion It is proposed that the findings of this investigation could be used to improve current knowledge regarding more mature women’s drinking culture, associated risks and risk prevention strategies.

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ID Code: 40066
Item Type: Conference Item (Presentation)
Refereed: No
Divisions: Current > Research Centres > Centre for Accident Research & Road Safety - Qld (CARRS-Q)
Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Faculty of Health
Current > Institutes > Institute of Health and Biomedical Innovation
Current > Schools > School of Psychology & Counselling
Deposited On: 15 Feb 2011 02:07
Last Modified: 09 Oct 2013 01:19

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