Middle-aged women drink more alcohol than any other age group, according to a Queensland University of Technology researcher who is now working to find out why.
Student Hanna Watling says 13 per cent of women aged 45 to 59 are drinking an average of more than two glasses of wine at night, which could be placing them at risk of serious illness.
Ms Watling says a new online survey aims to find out why more middle-aged women are turning to the bottle.
“We’re hoping to understand a bit more about what’s going on for this particular group of drinkers and why it is they tend to turn to alcohol in this sort of way,” she said.
“What we’re doing we’re launching this survey and we’re asking for women who are between 45 and 59-years-old and who have been drinking at least once in the past month to take part.”
“When we understand more about what’s going on for this particular group of drinkers we might be able to develop interventions that are tailored to their specific needs and their specific circumstances.”
Three drinks a day triples risk of alcohol-related disease
Ms Watling says research has found when women increased their drinking from two to three standard drinks a day, they more than tripled their lifetime risk of death from alcohol-related diseases.
“Heavy drinking is more common among young women in their late teens and 20s, but as they age, women tend to abandon binge drinking for less heavy but more frequent levels of alcohol consumption,” she said.
It’s more that alcohol becomes a greater part of everyday life as you age, for example having a wine with dinner or in front of the TV.
However, Ms Watling says the study suggests that for women in their 40s and 50s, drinking is not about getting drunk.
“Instead, it’s more that alcohol becomes a greater part of everyday life as you age, for example having a wine with dinner or in front of the TV,” she said.
“Alcohol also becomes a way of dealing with the stresses of busy lives such as family worries, work pressures or social commitments.”
However, she says researchers are concerned those women who drink moderately but often may end up consuming a larger volume of alcohol than those who drink heavily but less frequently.