Part of the Topic Series: Women and Alcohol
Mary E. McCaul and Ivana Grakalic
Recent epidemiological research has identified alarming trends in drinking patterns of girls and women in the United States. In recent years, the amount and frequency of alcohol use are increasing in White and Hispanic girls and young women in contrast to decreasing patterns of heavy alcohol use in boys and young men.1,2 Similarly, current and binge alcohol use is rising among older women,3,4 resulting in increased morbidity and mortality in this growing segment of the U.S. population. For example, emergency room visits associated with both acute and chronic drinking5 and alcohol-related inpatient diagnoses in U.S. middle-aged adults6 have accelerated more rapidly in women than men. Overall, these changes have narrowed the long-established gender gap in alcohol consumption and associated problems, with women’s drinking patterns across the life cycle approaching those of men.
These epidemiological trends have increased the urgency of sex-specific, gender-focused research on alcohol.7 Historically, because they were underrepresented among heavy/problem drinkers, women often were omitted from a wide range of alcohol studies, including basic science on alcohol effects in women, alcohol-related medical morbidities, social/behavioral consequences of drinking, and treatment intervention studies. With this topic series on women and alcohol, Alcohol Research: Current Reviews (ARCR) seeks to close these knowledge gaps and identify important areas for future research directions.
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necessarily reflect the official policy or position of the ‘FASD Prevention Conversation, A Shared Responsibility’ Project, its stakeholders, and/or funders.