The relationship between a less gender-stereotypical parenthood and alcohol-related care and death: a registry study of Swedish mothers and fathers

Rachiotis, George; Muula, Adamson S; Rudatsikira, Emmanuel; Siziya, Seter; Kyrlesi, Athina; Gourgoulianis, Konstantinos; Hadjichristodoulou, Christos
January 2008
BMC Public Health;2008, Vol. 8, p312
Academic Journal
Background: In general men tend to drink more alcohol and experience more alcohol-related sickness, injuries and mortality than women. In this paper, the overall hypothesis was that increased gender similarity in the division of parental duties would lead to convergence in alcohol-related harm. The aim was to analyse whether the risk of alcohol harm differs between parents who fit a gender-stereotypical versus those with a less gender-stereotypical division of childcare and paid work. Methods: The study sample was a retrospective registry-based cohort study of all Swedish couples who had their first child together in 1978 (N = 49,120). A less gender-stereotypical parenthood was indicated by paternity leave for fathers (1978-1979) and full-time work for mothers (1980). The outcome was inpatient care and/or death caused by alcohol psychosis, alcoholism, liver disease, or alcohol intoxication in the two decades following (1981-2001). Our main statistical method was multivariate logistic regression with odds ratios used to estimate relative risks. Results: The main results show that fathers who took paternity leave had 18% lower risk of alcohol-related care and/or death than other fathers. Mothers who worked full-time about two years after having a child had 71% higher risk than mothers who were unemployed or worked part-time. Conclusion: A less gender-stereotypical division of duties between parents in early parenthood may contribute to a long-term decreased gender disparity regarding risky alcohol consumption and alcohol-related harm. In order to know more about the causal direction however, future research has to consider subjects' drinking patterns in the years prior to parenthood.


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