Men and women continue to increase binge drinking, regardless of parenting status, finds a new Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health study. Those with children reported consistently lower levels of binge drinking than those without children, and men without children consistently report the highest levels of binge drinking; yet nearly all groups increased binge drinking in the past decade. The largest increases were among women ages 30–44 without children – from 21 percent in 2006 to 42 percent in 2018. Findings are in PLOS Medicine.
The researchers studied trends in binge drinking and heavy drinking among 239,944 adults 18–55 from the National Health Interview Survey for 2006 to 2018. They then tested whether binge and heavy drinking were increasing, decreasing, or unchanged according to parenting status and age. Results were based on responses about past-year alcohol use.
Despite widespread increases in binge drinking, heavy drinking declined or remained stable for all groups with the exception of older women (ages 45–55) without children. Alcohol abstention decreased for all groups except for young men (ages 18–29) with children, the same group that had reductions in binge drinking.
“Trends in binge and heavy drinking were not differentiated by parenting status for women,” said Dr. Katherine Keyes, associate professor of epidemiology, and senior author. “We observed that men and women who parent drink less than those who do not, and men who parent drink more than women who parent.”
“Moms are often subject to increased scrutiny regarding their own health, and how their decisions impact the health of their children,” said Ms. Sarah McKetta, MD/PhD candidate in epidemiology and lead author. “We found that public concern over ‘mommy drinking’ is not supported by the data.”Friday Letter Submission, Publish on December 13