Bioecological factors influencing women's alcohol consumption across the life span

Haydon, Helen M., Obst, Patricia L., Lewis, Ioni M., & Armstrong, Kerry A. (2013) Bioecological factors influencing women's alcohol consumption across the life span. In British Psychological Society, Division of Health Annual Conference, 11-13 September 2013, Holiday Inn, Brighton, UK. (Unpublished)




Substantial changing trends in women’s alcohol consumption show increased proportions women drinking at risky/ high risk levels. Not confined to the younger female population, these increases are also occurring in older female age groups (aged 35 and over), posing a set of risks differing to those of their male counterparts. However, little research investigates the influences behind these changing trends. The current research examined multiple level influences (i.e. cultural, social and psychosocial on women’s drinking across a range of age groups.


Semi-structured telephone interviews were conducted with thirty-five women (aged 18-55) residing in Australia. Interview development was guided by an adaptation of Bronfenbrenner’s Bioecological Model of Development to assess multiple areas of influences from cultural through to psychosocial (i.e. intra-individual). Each interview took approximately 1 hour to complete.


Bronfenbrenner’s Bioecological Model could account for multiple-level factors impacting women’s drinking with multidirectional influences interacting across each level. Cultural influences included gender roles and national identity. Exosystem influences (e.g. infrastructure, legislation, and media) and microsystem influences (e.g. drinking context, family, partner and peer influence) were clearly identified as impacting drinking behaviours. Finally, at the psychosocial level, attitudes and expectations around the disinhibiting effects of alcohol and social facilitation emerged as key influences.


The outcomes indicated the importance of these influences as women’s alcohol-related attitudes and behaviours changed across a woman’s life span and across age cohorts. Future research will build on these initial findings in order to underpin targeted interventions of the key factors influencing women’s drinking.

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ID Code: 64800
Item Type: Conference Item (Presentation)
Refereed: No
Additional URLs:
Keywords: women, alcohol consumption, lifespan, addictive behaviours, cultural psychology
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > PSYCHOLOGY AND COGNITIVE SCIENCES (170000) > PSYCHOLOGY (170100) > Gender Psychology (170105)
Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > PSYCHOLOGY AND COGNITIVE SCIENCES (170000) > PSYCHOLOGY (170100) > Health Clinical and Counselling Psychology (170106)
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
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2013 The Author(s)
Deposited On: 26 Nov 2013 23:19
Last Modified: 27 Mar 2014 19:28

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