Gender convergence in alcohol consumption: outcomes from general population survey on drugs, Portugal 2001-2016/17
Some studies have argued that there has been gender convergence in alcohol consumption (McPherson et al, 2004; Bratberg et al 2016; Livingston et al 2018). Most of these studies refer to data from countries in Northern Europe, Australia and the United States of America. According to Bloomfield et al (2009), since the 1970s that there has been concern that women may have started to adopt the same drinking behaviours as men, as a result of emancipation in which women increasingly move into lifestyles similar to men’s lifestyles - the convergence hypothesis.
The latest national data on alcohol consumption in Portugal reflect an increased prevalence of alcohol consumption among women in some age groups (Balsa et al, 2018); and the latest international data on alcohol consumption in Portugal reflect an increase in heavy episodic drinking in women between 2010 and 2016 (WHO, 2018).
This analysis aims to compare women’s and men’s alcohol consumption patterns in Portugal between 2001 and 2016/17 by age groups across the life course to test gender convergence. Prevalence of drinking (last 12 months and last 30 days) and abstention, typical frequency and quantity of drinking (by beverage type), heavy episodic drinking and attitudes towards alcohol will be measured to test gender convergence on alcohol consumption.
We used data collected in four national general population surveys conducted in Portugal in 2001 (n= 14 184), 2007 (n= 12 202), 2012 (n= 5 355) and 2016/17 (n= 9 632) among people between ages 15 and 64 years old. All the samples are representative at national and regional level by gender and age. Not all measures were assessed in all four surveys.
Alcohol use differ by age, gender and across countries (among others) and we need to know how and why these variations occur and take them into account when formulating international and cross-cultural alcohol policies.
Preliminary analysis points to confirm the gender convergence hypothesis for some age groups and for some drinking measures but not to for others.