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The specter of post-communism: Women and alcohol in eight post-Soviet states

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  • Hinote, Brian Philip
  • Cockerham, William C.
  • Abbott, Pamela

Abstract

Because men have borne the heaviest burden of premature mortality in the former Soviet Union, women have for the most part been overlooked in studies of the health crisis in this part of the world. A considerable body of research points to alcohol consumption among males as a primary lifestyle cause of premature mortality. However, the extent to which alcohol use has penetrated the female population following the collapse of communism and how this consumption is associated with other social factors is less well-understood. Accordingly, this paper investigates alcohol consumption in eight republics of the former USSR - Armenia, Belarus, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova, Russia, and Ukraine using data collected in 2001. More specifically, discussion of gender role transformations and the historical experiences of women during the Soviet era emphasize two potentially important social influences examined in this analysis: psychological distress and Soviet political ideology. Findings suggest that distress is only weakly statistically associated with frequent drinking behavior among women, but results for political ideology show that this factor is statistically and significantly associated with drinking behaviors. Alcohol consumption was not particularly common among women under communism, but trends have been changing. Our discussion suggests that, after the collapse of the Soviet state, women are more able to embrace behavioral practices related to alcohol, and many may do so as an overt rejection of traditional Soviet norms and values. Findings are also discussed within the context of current epidemiological trends and future research directions in these eight republics.

Suggested Citation

  • Hinote, Brian Philip & Cockerham, William C. & Abbott, Pamela, 2009. "The specter of post-communism: Women and alcohol in eight post-Soviet states," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 68(7), pages 1254-1262, April.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:socmed:v:68:y:2009:i:7:p:1254-1262
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    2. repec:aph:ajpbhl:2004:94:12:2177-2187_5 is not listed on IDEAS
    3. Cockerham, William C. & Hinote, Brian P. & Cockerham, Geoffrey B. & Abbott, Pamela, 2006. "Health lifestyles and political ideology in Belarus, Russia, and Ukraine," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 62(7), pages 1799-1809, April.
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    9. Cockerham, William C. & Hinote, Brian P. & Abbott, Pamela, 2006. "Psychological distress, gender, and health lifestyles in Belarus, Kazakhstan, Russia, and Ukraine," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 63(9), pages 2381-2394, November.
    10. Cockerham, William C. & Hinote, Brian P. & Abbott, Pamela & Haerpfer, Christian, 2004. "Health lifestyles in central Asia: the case of Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 59(7), pages 1409-1421, October.
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    Cited by:

    1. Bhattacharya, Prabir C, 2012. "Gender Inequality and the Sex Ratio in Three Emerging Economies," SIRE Discussion Papers 2012-31, Scottish Institute for Research in Economics (SIRE).
    2. Prabir C. Bhattacharya, 2012. "Gender Inequality and the Sex Ratio in Three Emerging Economies," Heriot-Watt University Economics Discussion Papers 1201, Department of Economics, School of Management and Languages, Heriot Watt University.
    3. Rhodes, Tim & Bivol, Stela, 2012. "“Back then” and “nowadays”: Social transition narratives in accounts of injecting drug use in an East European setting," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 74(3), pages 425-433.

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