Life Styles and Drinking Behavior Among Urban Women in America

  • D. D. Celentano
  • D. V. McQueen
Conference paper
Part of the Health Systems Research book series (HEALTH)


A review of population surveys conducted during the last thirty years yields highly variable estimates of the prevalence of problem drinking in women and the reasons and correlates of non-normative alcoholic beverage consumption behaviors (Kalant 1980, Celentano and McQueen 1978, Celentano and McQueen 1984). Ferrence (1980), Fillmore (1974) and Celentano et al. (1980) identified factors related to drinking behavior among women which warranted further empirical investigation. Among other factors suggested was the realization that changes in rates of drinking and a shift towards elevated rates of consumption by women over the last twenty years (Clark and Midanik 1982) might lead to alcohol use patterns more similar to that of men. Further, there has been significant interest in the field of alcohol studies that drinking patterns among women are often secretive and “hidden” from view (so-called closet drinking), reflecting norms in society contributing to depressed alcoholism rates among women (Celentano and McQueen 1984b). A related factor is the change in sex-role attitudes and beliefs of the acceptable roles and norms for behavior for each gender. It is suggested that drinking patterns among women who hold more egalitarian attitudes are more like their male counterparts than women who hold traditional viewpoints and less socially aware attitudes (Celentano and McQueen 1984a). Finally the lack of empirical data on drinking by women has lead to many unfounded conclusions and statements on current drinking behaviors among women. As Ferrence (1980) states: “Since these perceptions have major implications for the identification and treatment of women who are problem drinkers, as well as for more general preventive measures, it is important to determine their validity.”


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 1984

Authors and Affiliations

  • D. D. Celentano
    • 1
  • D. V. McQueen
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Behavioral Sciences, School of Hygiene and Public HealthJohns Hopkins UniversityBaltimoreUSA
  2. 2.Research Unit in Health and Behavioural ChangeUniversity of EdinburghEdinburghScotland

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