Michelle Pedersen

Doctor of Clinical Psychology, (Psychology)
Study Completed: 2019
College of Humanities & Social Sciences


Thesis Title
'Feels a bit naughty when you're a mum': Alcohol use amongst mothers with preschool children

Read article at Massey Research Online: MRO icon

Many young New Zealand women consume alcohol in a culture of normalised intoxication, engaging in 'new' femininities aligned with postfeminist values of autonomy and liberation. As these women transition into motherhood, they are targeted by media and advertising campaigns encouraging alcohol use, yet they are traditionally expected to conform to 'good mothering' ideology, aligned with temperance. Ms Pedersen explored the way mothers of preschool children talked about their pre-motherhood and current alcohol use, as well as their partner's drinking to understand how they accepted, resisted and negotiated dominant meanings around motherhood and alcohol. She found excessive drinking and experimentation in young adulthood were normalised, while mothers used alcohol as a form of relaxation, reward and time out from their roles. Unlike fathers' drinking, which was also normalised, the mothers' drinking was policed through self-monitoring and surveillance. The women engaged with multiple femininities to justify drinking, while adhering to 'good mothering' ideology.

Professor Antonia Lyons
Professor Christine Stephens
Associate Professor Paul Merrick