ARCSHS presents seminars in sexuality and health, open to any interested people.
View this email in your browser

ARCSHS Seminar

Middle-aged same-sex attracted women and the social practice of drinking

Dr Sarah MacLean, Centre for Alcohol Policy, La Trobe University

As a group, middle-aged same-sex attracted women (SSAW) appear to consume more alcohol than exclusively-heterosexual women in the same age range, however few studies document their collective drinking practices or identify opportunities to reduce associated harms.

Online surveys which included open-ended questions were completed by a self-selected sample of SSAW (N=134) aged 36-51, recruited in Victoria, Australia. We identify 12 sub-elements of SSAW’s collective drinking practice using a schema grounded in social practice theory (SPT). Responses are compared for SSAW who consumed alcohol with others at moderate and at heavier levels, based on screening.

Heavier drinking respondents were more likely to observe that: alcohol use is normalised for SSAW; they are not pressured to drink; drinking produces pleasurable effects; drinking facilitates management of uncomfortable moods, and that venues welcoming SSAW are saturated with alcohol. In line with SPT, links between sub-elements described by heavier drinkers are explored to identify potential interventions. For example, we recommend an expansion of social opportunities without alcohol that engender affirming affective states for SSAW.

Further, many SSAW’s commitment to the importance of moderation and rejecting coercion to drink could be used to combat the conviction that drinking is an inevitable response to discrimination experienced by sexual minorities. It was apparent that although they drank with other SSAW, our survey respondents did not share a consistent or altogether unique drinking culture. We suggest that an SPT approach entailing data coding to multiple sub-elements supports the identification of diverse configurations of drinking practice within heterogeneous subpopulations.


Dr Sarah MacLean's main research interest is in substance use and other dependency forming social practices such as gambling. Dr MacLean has a strong interest in how experiences of marginality (for example Indigeneity, poverty, and sexuality) impact on, and are in turn affected by, these social practices. Dr MacLean uses participatory and collaborative research methods to explore how public health policy and health promotion interventions can be designed to maximise the likelihood that effects will be positive, rather than harmful.

Seminar Details

Wednesday 4 July 1:00pm – 2:00pm
Free (No RSVP required)
Institute of Advanced Studies seminar room
Building NR8, La Trobe University, Bundoora, 3086
Australian Research Centre in Sex, Health and Society (ARCSHS),
Tel: +61 3 9479 8700

unsubscribe from this list    update subscription preferences 

This email was sent to <<Email Address>>
why did I get this?    unsubscribe from this list    update subscription preferences
Australian Research Centre in Sex, Health and Society (ARCSHS), La Trobe University · NR6 · La Trobe University, Victoria 3086 · Australia

Email Marketing Powered by Mailchimp