‘Ladette’ culture to blame for rise in alcohol-related death in women?

19th July, 2013 by Rupert Millar

Alcohol-related deaths among women born in the 1970s are on the rise as overall alcohol deaths are down.

Woman lies on a benchA recent study published in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health, looked at deaths in men and women between 1980 and 2011 in three UK cities that had similar patterns of poverty, poor health and industrialisation; Liverpool, Glasgow and Manchester.

Early deaths in women due to alcohol were apparently as high as 20 per 100,000 in those born in the 1970s, compared to 14 per 100,000 for those born in the 1960s and just eight per 100,000 for those born in the 1950s.

The researchers declared that the deaths among women due to alcohol should be a “warning signal” and that the introduction of minimum pricing, dropped earlier this week by the government, would help address the issue.

Although alcohol-related deaths have plateaued, even fallen, for most age groups in men and women, the explanation for the rise in deaths for 70s-born women is perhaps to be found in the cultural setting in which they grew up.

Speaking to the BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, Sally Marlow from the Institute of Psychiatry at King’s College London said that these women would have been drinking during the “ladette” culture of the 1990s.

“We had women very out there, embracing male behaviours – one of which was excessive drinking,” she told the programme, adding that excessive drinking was more detrimental to women and made them more vulnerable to problems such as liver disease.

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