The alcohol culture of mature-aged women : similarities and differences across borders

Watling, Hanna, Armstrong, Kerry Ann, & Davey, Jeremy (2014) The alcohol culture of mature-aged women : similarities and differences across borders. In 40th Annual Alcohol Epidemiology Symposium of the Kettil Bruun Society, 9-13 June 2014, Torino, Italy. (Unpublished)

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Abstract

Introduction: Relatively few attempts have been made to describe and understand women’s alcohol consumption beyond adolescence and young adulthood. In particular, there has been a lack of studies focusing on the alcohol culture that surrounds and guides mature-aged women’s drinking. As part of a larger cross-national comparison, the present study sought to address this gap by identifying the shared beliefs and values that impact on drinking outcomes among mature-aged women in Sweden and Australia.

Method: The study was guided by an ethnographic methodology. To generate data, a series of semi-structured interview were conducted with 17 Australian (age = 45-57 years; M = 52.1, SD = 3.9) and 19 Swedish (age = 45-58 years; M = 52.2, SD = 4.8) women. All interviews were transcribed verbatim and thematically analysed.

Results: With age, the focus of alcohol as a single purpose vehicle for intoxication had given way to a focus on the enjoyment and ritual of drinking itself; taste had become increasingly important and alcohol was strongly associated with pleasurable environments and experiences. The view of alcohol as a taste experience was particularly pronounced among the Swedish women, with alcohol (most commonly wine) often seen as inseparable from food. Among the Swedish women, this view of alcohol was also associated with a strong de-emphasis of the pharmacological effects of alcohol. In contrast, several Australian women understood and used alcohol as relief for anxiety and stress. Moderate drinking was linked to the social construction of both age and gender in the two samples, while heavy or abusive alcohol consumption was associated with strong proscriptive norms and stigma.

Conclusions: Australian and Swedish women share a number of beliefs and values around alcohol, however, these findings also show unique country-level differences. Implications for drinking outcomes are discussed.

Impact and interest:

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ID Code: 73671
Item Type: Conference Paper
Refereed: No
Keywords: Alcohol culture, Mature-aged women, Cross-cultural
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) > Social and Community Psychology (170113)
Divisions: Current > Research Centres > Centre for Accident Research & Road Safety - Qld (CARRS-Q)
Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Faculty of Health
Deposited On: 11 Jul 2014 00:10
Last Modified: 16 Sep 2014 02:07

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