Drinking patterns of women: influence of social roles and social history



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Texas Tech University


Recent research demonstrates that women's patterns of problematic drinking behavior vary by age, occupation, marital status, motherhood, and various role configurations (Parker & Brody, 1982; Wilsnack & Cheloha, 1987). This suggests that some of the etiological forces underlying women's alcohol use may be rooted within the roles and statuses of the larger society. If drinking behavior was not influenced by societal conditions but only by genetic factors, biological factors, or by the chance combination of personality elements, then there would be no direct association between drinking and key social characteristics. The presence of such associations delivers a very clear message: there must be something in the experiences that women have as role occupants of gender, age, marital status, motherhood, and occupation that helps to explain their patterns and styles of drinking (Pearlin, Lieberman, Menaghan, & Mullen, 1981).