Female drink-drivers are more likely to be older, better-educated and divorced, widowed or separated, research has shown.
The study by academics at The University of Nottingham found that emotional factors and mental health problems were common triggers in alcohol-related offences committed by women.
And they also discovered that rehabilitation programmes that force women to face the consequences of their crime can intensify their feelings of guilt and shame, leading them to turn to alcohol and increasing the risk that they will re-offend.
In a paper to be published in Clinical Psychology Review the researchers, led by Professor Mary McMurran of the Institute of Mental Health, have called for more effective treatment programmes to be designed that are specifically tailored for women.
Professor McMurran said: "The profile of women drink-driving offenders is of being divorced, widowed or separated and having fewer previous convictions than their male counterparts. Thus, it may be that these women are distressed by their situation and are turning to drink for solace.
"Treatment programmes that induce negative emotions may actually increase emotional distress, which may increase drinking and, in turn, increase the likelihood of alcohol-related offending."
The Nottingham researchers carried out a systematic review of 26 previous studies from around the world to gather evidence that could inform the future development of interventions for alcohol-related offending by women and centred on whether there are differences between men and women who break the law after drinking.
|Contact: Emma Thorne|
University of Nottingham