The epidemiology of drinking among women of child-bearing age

Raul Caetano, Suhasini Ramisetty-Mikler, Louise R. Floyd, Christine McGrath

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

118 Scopus citations


Objectives: To estimate the prevalence of drinking, binge drinking (4 or more drinks), and alcohol abuse and dependence and to identify predictors of heavier drinking among women of child-bearing age (18-44 years). Methods: Subjects are part of a national multistage random sample from the 2002 National Epidemiologic Survey on Alcohol and Related Conditions (NESARC). Results: Binge drinking, abuse, and dependence are higher in younger (<30 years) pregnant and nonpregnant women. Among pregnant women, binge drinking is highest among Whites; alcohol abuse and dependence rates are relatively low and similar in all racial/ethnic groups. Among nonpregnant women, Whites and mixed race women have the highest rates of binge drinking. Alcohol abuse and dependence are highest among Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islanders, followed by Native American/Alaska Native women. Women who are White, younger (21-29 years), single, or cohabiting and with a higher income (>$40,000) are at a higher risk for heavier drinking. Conclusions: Drinking and heavier drinking remain at high levels among women of child-bearing age. Prevention efforts must be comprehensive and should target pregnant women who are drinking and those who could become pregnant and are drinking at high-risk levels.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1023-1030
Number of pages8
JournalAlcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 2006
Externally publishedYes


  • Alcohol Use
  • Epidemiology
  • National Sample
  • Women of Child-Bearing Age

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Toxicology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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