Alcohol and parenthood: an integrative analysis of the effects of transition to parenthood in three Australasian cohorts
journal contributionposted on 01.04.2019, 00:00 authored by Rohan Borschmann, Denise BeckerDenise Becker, Liz SpryLiz Spry, George Youssef, Craig OlssonCraig Olsson, Delyse HutchinsonDelyse Hutchinson, Edmund Silins, Joseph M Boden, Margarita Moreno-Betancur, Jake M Najman, Louisa Degenhardt, Richard P Mattick, Helena RomaniukHelena Romaniuk, L John Horwood, George C Patton, Cannabis Cohorts Research Consortium
AIMS: To determine the extent to which the transition to parenthood protects against heavy and problematic alcohol consumption in young men and women. DESIGN: Integrated participant-level data analysis from three population-based prospective Australasian cohort studies. SETTING: General community; participants from the Australian Temperament Study, the Christchurch Health and Development Study, and the Victorian Adolescent Health Cohort Study. MEASUREMENTS: Recent binge drinking, alcohol abuse/dependence and number of standard drinks consumed per occasion. FINDINGS: 4015 participants (2151 females; 54%) were assessed on four occasions between ages 21 and 35. Compared to women with children aged <12 months, women who had not transitioned to parenthood were more likely to meet the criteria for alcohol abuse/dependence (fully adjusted risk ratio [RR] 3.5; 95% CI 1.5-7.9) and to report recent binge drinking (RR 3.0; 95% CI 2.1-4.3). The proportion of women meeting the criteria for alcohol abuse/dependence and/or binge drinking increased with the age of participants' youngest child, as did the mean number of standard drinks consumed on each occasion (1.8 if the youngest child was <1 year of age vs. 3.6 for 5+ years of age). Associations between parenthood and male drinking behaviour were considerably weaker. CONCLUSIONS: For most women in their twenties and thirties, parenting a child <1 year of age was associated with reduced alcohol consumption. However, this protective effect diminished after 12 months with drinking levels close to pre-parenthood levels after five years. There was little change in male drinking with the transition to parenthood.