Aims: To investigate whether differences in gender-income equity at country level explain national differences in the links between alcohol use, and the combination of motherhood and paid labour.
Design: Cross-sectional data in 16 established market economies participating in the Gender, Alcohol and Culture: An International Study (GenACIS) study.
Setting: Population surveys.
Participants: A total of 12,454 mothers (aged 25-49 years).
Measurements: Alcohol use was assessed as the quantity per drinking day. Paid labour, having a partner, gender-income ratio at country level and the interaction between individual and country characteristics were regressed on alcohol consumed per drinking day using multi-level modelling.
Findings: Mothers with a partner who were in paid labour reported consuming more alcohol on drinking days than partnered housewives. In countries with high gender-income equity, mothers with a partner who were in paid labour drank less alcohol per occasion, while alcohol use was higher among working partnered mothers living in countries with lower income equity.
Conclusion: In countries which facilitate working mothers, daily alcohol use decreases as female social roles increase; in contrast, in countries where there are fewer incentives for mothers to remain in work, the protective effect of being a working mother (with partner) on alcohol use is weaker. These data suggest that a country's investment in measures to improve the compatibility of motherhood and paid labour may reduce women's alcohol use.
© 2011 The Authors, Addiction © 2011 Society for the Study of Addiction.