Helen Haydon, from QUT’s Centre for Accident Research & Road Safety – Queensland (CARRS-Q), has launched an Australian-wide online survey and wants women over 18 to share their experiences about alcohol.
“We want to know what you think about alcohol regardless of how much you do or don’t drink – so from women who don’t touch a drop through to those who drink a lot,” she said
The study builds on Ms Haydon’s earlier research which suggests that alcohol is so engrained in Australian culture that today many women just consider it a normal part of life.
“It’s so engrained in our life that we are often unaware of the risks, such as long term health consequences that come with it, often until it’s too late,” she said.
“We know that women are drinking at much higher levels than previous generations but the research has mainly been focused on men’s drinking habits because historically drinking has typically been more of a male thing.
“But today social drinking is very much a thing that women do too. So we want to find out more about why this has changed.”
Ms Haydon said women’s drinking habits often changed over time, depending on their stage of life.
“Life events like a change of job or finding a partner or having a baby can change the way a woman is exposed to alcohol and this can influence their drinking behaviour,” she said.
She also said when comparing drinking habits across different generations there were differences between mother and daughter.
“Young women today tend to drink more than their mother’s did but interestingly, older women who didn’t really drink alcohol before had started to drink in their later years with their daughters.”
Ms Haydon said the new study would look particularly at how social influences impact on women’s attitudes about alcohol.
“We hope to identify patterns showing what is influencing women’s drinking behaviour ,” she said.
“That can help with developing interventions when drinking is already a problem, but also help inform all women of the risk of slipping into that problem category. It’s a scarily easy slope in which to slide.”
The study is made up of two surveys – the first takes about 30 minutes to complete and the second will be emailed two weeks later and takes just five minutes.
To take part visit http://www.carrsq.qut.edu.au/womendrinking/index.jsp
A high-resolution photo of Helen Haydon is available here
– Sandra Hutchinson, QUT media officer (Tue/Wed), 07 3138 9449 or [email protected]
– Amanda Horswill, QUT media officer, 07 3138 1150