Exploring cultural, social and psychosocial influences on women's drinking across the life span

Haydon, Helen M., Obst, Patricia L., Lewis, Ioni M., & Armstrong, Kerry A. (2013) Exploring cultural, social and psychosocial influences on women's drinking across the life span. In 20th International Conference on Alcohol, Drugs and Traffic Safety : Conference Porceedings, Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre, Brisbane, QLD.

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Changing trends in women's alcohol consumption have demonstrated that women, in both younger and older cohorts, are drinking at increased levels than previously. However, little research investigates these changing trends or the influences behind them.


The current research aims to identify influences on women's drinking across a range of age groups, with a focus on multiple level influences (i.e. cultural, social and psychosocial).


One hour semi-structured telephone interviews were conducted, in 2011, with 35 women (aged 18-55) residing in Australia. Interview development was guided by an adaptation of Bronfenbrenner's Bioecological Model of Development (BBMD) to assess multiple areas of influences from cultural through to psychosocial.


Interview findings highlighted the existence of multiple levels of influence on women’s drinking and thus provided support for the BBMD framework. Cultural influences identified related to gender roles and national identity. Exosystem influences (e.g. legislation, infrastructure, and media) and Microsystem influences (e.g. immediate social networks) were also identified. A range of psychosocial factors, such as identity, normative influence and attitude were also found as influencing drinking behaviours. Finally, changes across a woman’s life span, and intergenerational differences, were Chronosystem constructs that also emerged as key influences.

Discussion and conclusions

This study has provided an in-depth understanding into the key factors, occurring across multiple levels of influence, impacting upon women's drinking across younger and older cohorts. The findings also highlight changes in alcohol-related attitudes and behaviours across a life span and across generations. Future research should extend upon these findings based on larger, quantitative studies based on representative samples. The findings do provide key insights into the influences that need to be addressed within targeted interventions.

Impact and interest:

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ID Code: 64802
Item Type: Conference Paper
Refereed: Yes
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 [please consult the author]
Deposited On: 26 Nov 2013 23:26
Last Modified: 30 Nov 2013 05:22

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