Gender and geography in alcohol-related mortality

There is growing concern about alcohol-related harm, particularly within Scotland which has some of the highest rates of alcohol-related death in western Europe.  There are also large gender differences in alcohol-related mortality rates in Scotland and in other countries, but the reasons for these differences are not clearly understood.

In this project, we aim to address calls in the literature for further research on gender differences in the causes, contexts and consequences of alcohol-related harm.  We are interested in whether the kind of social environment which tends to produce higher or lower rates of alcohol-related mortality is the same for both men and women across Scotland, and also in how both the gender and  geographical inequalities in alcohol-related harm in Scotland have developed over time.

The close relationship between socio-economic environment and geographical location has often been used as a means to examine how different kinds of life circumstances and environments may be implicated in health. In the project, we see maps of  spatial differences in health as “maps of the processes and relationships which produce and reproduce ‘health”.

The project is a collaboration with Dr Carol Emslie at the MRC Social and Public Health Sciences Unit. So far, it has produced one paper

Emslie C, Mitchell R. Are there gender differences in the geography of alcohol-related mortality in Scotland? An ecological study. BMC Public Health 2009; 9(1):58http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/1471-2458-9-58

The paper garnered a lot of press attention. You can see what the BBC wrote here

We are now working on analysis through time and across Europe, using data from the WHO.

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