A new 10-year study found changes in the amount women drank and why some abstained from drinking that varied across racial/ethnic groups and by age. Between 2000 and 2010, abstinence among White and Black women over age 40 decreased, while at-risk drinking among White women of the same age increased. The study defined at-risk drinking as consuming more than three drinks on any day or more than seven drinks in a week as per the U.S. low-risk drinking guidelines.
Over the same decade, older White and Black women were less likely to cite possible health concerns as a reason not to drink, and older White, Black and Latina women were less likely to cite religious concerns. Among younger women, choosing not to drink because of health concerns declined during the study period.
“We thought that women across all groups might decide not to drink as they age because of possible health risks, or at least they would reduce how much they’re drinking as they get older,” said Katherine Karriker-Jaffe, study lead and ARG Scientist. “It’s clear there’s a need for more accurate information on the health risks associated with drinking, especially when there are so many conflicting messages on its possible benefits.”
Karriker-Jaffe and her team suggest that such dissemination efforts are essential to counteract this cultural shift in how women are drinking.
“It seems there’s greater acceptance of drinking and, for some, acceptance of heavy drinking as we age, and that it varies across racial/ethnic groups. It’s critical that we develop culturally appropriate messaging and interventions to ensure all women can make informed choices about whether they drink and how much.”
The study analyzed data from over 6,200 female respondents using the 2000 and 2010 waves of the U.S. National Alcohol Survey.
Karriker-Jaffe, K.J., Greenfield, T.K., Mulia, N., Zemore, S.E. (2018). Ten-year trend in women’s reasons for abstaining or limiting drinking: the 2000 and 2010 United States National Alcohol Surveys. Journal of Women’s Health: https://www.liebertpub.com/doi/full/10.1089/jwh.2017.6613
Research reported in this press release was supported by the U.S. National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) of the National Institutes of Health under award numbers P50AA005595 (W.C. Kerr) and R01AA020474 N. Mulia and S.E. Zemore). The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of NIAAA or the National Institutes of Health.
If you are interested in arranging an interview with Katherine Karriker-Jaffe, PhD, please contact Diane Schmidt, communications specialist at the Alcohol Research Group at (510) 898- 5819 or firstname.lastname@example.org.