Gender differences in drinking: why do they still exist?
Article first published online: 23 NOV 2005
Volume 100, Issue 12, pages 1763–1769, December 2005
How to Cite
Holmila, M. and Raitasalo, K. (2005), Gender differences in drinking: why do they still exist?. Addiction, 100: 1763–1769. doi: 10.1111/j.1360-0443.2005.01249.x
- Issue published online: 23 NOV 2005
- Article first published online: 23 NOV 2005
- Submitted 19 March 2004; initial review completed 7 July 2004; final version accepted 3 March 2005
- Alcohol use;
- convergence of drinking habits;
Aims The paper discusses the kinds of reasoning that have been presented as possible mechanisms and reasons for gender differences in alcohol consumption.
Design and methods An overview of the existing literature from different countries is presented.
Findings The existing studies provide a picture of great cultural variance in patterns of alcohol use among men and women. The gender differences in drinking behaviour have been shown to be linked with many aspects of biological differences between men and women leading to women's greater vulnerability to alcohol, of women's and men's differing needs, reasons and motivations in relation to drinking, of gender-specific roles in other areas of life and of ways in which societies regulate peoples’ behaviour, often giving women the role of warden or moderator of others’ drinking.
Conclusions The gender differences in drinking behaviour continue to be considerable and are found in all cultures studied so far. Several studies have argued for reasons underlying these differences, but they still remain largely unexplained.