Women Who Are Satisfied with Everyday Life, Engage in Leisure Activities Less Likely to Have Alcohol Problems

A new study has found that women who participate in leisure activities rarely have problems with alcohol. Researchers from University of Gothenburg, Sweden, led by occupational therapist Christina Andersson, looked at how everyday life affects drinking as part of the Women and Alcohol in Gothenburg (WAG) population study, which has been ongoing since the mid 1980s.

One study involved 851 women between the ages of 20 and 55 who answered questions about their everyday life, including employment, leisure activities, housework, time to themselves, and how satisfied they were in each of the areas.

Andersson said the study showed that alcohol abuse, dependence, and episodic drinking were most common in women who had more time to themselves but were not involved in leisure activities. She added that being satisfied with everyday life and being involved in activities had only a weak link to risky drinking, even for those who had little time to themselves.

Another study found that alcohol dependence is more common among women who drink to cope with everyday life, such as to help them sleep or feel less depressed, women who drink frequently, and women who drink alone.

The studies underscore the importance of indentifying groups of individuals with different patterns of drinking. Alcohol dependence could be better prevented by focusing attention on the fact that some women believe drinking meets needs in their everyday life. Andersson said that identifying patterns will likely help researchers and clinicians develop new ideas about preventative actions.

WAG is a population study of women in all age groups that has been ongoing at the Sahlgrenska Academy since the mid 1980s. The studies examine the field of alcoholism in women, and focus specifically on alcohol and drug behavior and psychiatric issues.

Source: Science Daily, Women Involved in Leisure Activities Drink Less Alcohol, Swedish Study Finds, February 7, 2011

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