An exploration of women's perceptions of the major factors that contributed to their alcohol abuse


  • Ann Long MSc BSc(Hons) RGN RMN RHV DipN RNT RHVT,

    Corresponding author
    1. Lecturer in Nursing, University of Ulster, Jordanstown
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  • Brendan Mullen BSc(Hons) DipN SRN RMN Certificate in Alcohol and Drug Dependency

    1. Programme Head of Mental Health, Manager of PALMS, North Down and Ards Unit of Management, Eastern Health and Social Services Board, Northern Ireland
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Ann Long, Lecturer in Nursing, University of Ulster at Jordanstown, Newtownabbey, County Antrim BT37 OQB, Northern Ireland.


The purpose of this research was to explore the interviewees' perceptions of the major factors that contributed to their alcohol abuse. The research was carried out by interviewing seven women who were identified by community mental health professionals. The research was qualitative and exploratory. The semi-structured tape-recorded interview technique was used as an enquiry tool. The tapes were then transcribed and coded, and the findings were scrutinized and scanned for emerging themes and concepts using an interactive and cyclical process of data-reduction techniques, data display and verification of findings. The findings suggest that the majority of the interviewees could identify and isolate specific life events and past-life crises that contributed to ‘an increase in their alcohol intake’. Results also indicate that there is a need to consider the efficacy of the current models of primary, secondary and tertiary care as well as relapse-prevention programmes of care in order to facilitate women to have every opportunity to make informed and rational health choices about their drinking behaviours, and to maintain abstinence, for the promotion of positive mental health and for enhancing the quality of their lives.