Gender differences in the impact of population-level alcohol policy interventions: evidence synthesis of systematic reviews

Niamh Fitzgerald*, Kathryn Angus, Carol Emslie, Deborah Shipton, Linda Bauld

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

    25 Citations (Scopus)
    334 Downloads (Pure)


    Background and Aims
    Consistent review‐level evidence supports the effectiveness of population‐level alcohol policies in reducing alcohol‐related harms. Such policies interact with well‐established social, cultural and biological differences in how men and women perceive, relate to and use alcohol, and with wider inequalities, in ways which may give rise to gender differences in policy effectiveness. This paper aimed to examine the extent to which gender‐specific data and analyses were considered in, and are available from, systematic reviews of population‐level alcohol policy interventions, and where possible, to conduct a narrative synthesis of relevant data.

    A prior systematic ‘review of reviews’ of population level alcohol interventions 2002‐2012 was updated to May 2014, all gender‐relevant data extracted, and the level and quality of gender reporting assessed. A narrative synthesis of extracted findings was conducted.

    Sixty‐three systematic reviews, covering ten policy areas, were included. Five reviews (8%) consistently provided information on baseline participation by gender for each individual study in the review and twenty‐nine (46%) reported some gender‐specific information on the impact of the policies under consideration. Specific findings include evidence of possible gender differences in the impact of and exposure to alcohol marketing, and a failure to consider potential unintended consequences and harm to others in most reviews.

    Gender is poorly reported in systematic reviews of population‐level interventions to reduce alcohol‐related harm, hindering assessment of the intended and unintended effects of such policies on women and men.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)1735–1747
    Number of pages13
    Issue number10
    Early online date14 May 2016
    Publication statusPublished - Oct 2016


    • gender
    • alcohol policy
    • systematic reviews
    • public health policy
    • review
    • Alcohol drinking
    • alcohol-related harms
    • equity

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Psychiatry and Mental health
    • Medicine (miscellaneous)


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