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Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Abstinence, occasional drinking and binge drinking in middle-aged women. The Women's Health in Lund Area (WHILA) Study
Nordic Journal of Psychiatry 12 Mar 2008

Although drinking patterns in women have received increased attention, few studies have focused on middle-aged women.

Drinking patterns were investigated in a population sample of 513 Swedish women aged 50-59, and analysed in relation to social situation, and mental and physical health.

Abstainers and occasional drinkers had lower levels of education and more often regular medical control compared with weekly drinkers. Furthermore, abstainers more often had disability pension. Among women drinking alcohol, 56.6% affirmed binge drinking within the last year and 39.4% within the last month. Binge drinkers did not differ in terms of social situation, mental or physical health, compared with other drinkers.

Drinking to relieve tension was affirmed by 7.2%. These women had more mental symptoms and less contact with friends compared with other drinkers; furthermore, they were more often binge drinkers.

Binge drinking was common and health and social consequences of this drinking pattern in middle-aged women need to be further explored.

Women drinking to relieve tension may need intervention for both drinking habits and mental health.

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