Key reading from Moira Plant’s body of work, annotated by the author.
Plant, M.L. (1984) “Alcohol consumption amongst pregnant women: Some initial results from a prospective study”, Alcohol and Alcoholism, 19: 153-157.
This was one of the first articles to be published reporting on a large-scale UK prospective study in the area of drinking in pregnancy. It was also the first paper to be published from my PhD. It is here because it was the beginning of my career as an alcohol researcher.
Plant, M.L. (1986) “Drinking in pregnancy and foetal harm: Results from a Scottish prospective study”, Midwifery, 2: 81-85.
I wanted to make sure that some of the relevant people might have a chance to read about the issue of drinking in pregnancy and pre-natal alcohol harm. To this end I also wrote for the Midwives Journal. It seemed important to get the information out rather than only to think of the Impact Factor of journals. To researchers nowadays who are under constant pressure to publish in high impact journals this may seem a luxury.
Plant, M.L. (1986) “Women and Alcohol”, In: McPherson, A. (Ed) Women’s Problems in General Practice, Oxford: Oxford University Press.
The increasing interest in alcohol related problems in women led to a request for me to write this chapter which was included in a book on women’s problems for general practitioners. This book went into a 2nd edition in 1988
Morgan Thomas, R., Plant, M.A., Plant, M.L. and Sales, D. (1989) “Risks of AIDS among workers in the “sex industry”: Some initial results from a Scottish study”, British Medical Journal, 299: 148-149.
Early on my husband Martin and I agreed that all the research areas we worked on over the years had to be of relevance. Much of the work carried out in the Alcohol Research Group related to occupational groups. I don’t remember us ever carrying out a piece of work that did not have some social relevance and in my case a relevance for women. This study was an example of that decision. It explored two emotive topics. The sex industry and the emerging issue of HIV and AIDS. It is an example of working with “hard to reach” populations
Morgan Thomas, R., Plant, M.A. and Plant, M.L. (1990) “Alcohol, AIDS risks and sex industry clients: Results from a Scottish study”, Drug and Alcohol Dependence, 26: 265-269.
Continuing the occupational theme this article explored risk behaviours in the clients of female and male sex workers
Plant, M.L., Plant, M.A. and Foster, J. (1992) “Stress, alcohol, tobacco and illicit drug use amongst nurses: a Scottish study”, Journal of Advanced Nursing, 17, 1057-1067.
Having started out my career as a general nurse this study was of particular interest. There were several aspects which were important such as alcohol and other drug consumption but of relevance was the degrees of stress these nurses were under in an overworked and understaffed National Health Service
Plant, M.L. (1993) “Alcohol and breast cancer: A review”, International Journal of the Addictions, 21: 107-128.
The review was an attempt to gather the relevant evidence available at the time to explore this area which affected so many women both physically and emotionally. It is outdated now given research has grown in the area but it is an example of my continuing interest in women’s health as it relates to their alcohol consumption.
Plant, M.L. and Foster, J. (1993) “AIDS-related experience, knowledge, attitudes and beliefs among nurses in an area with a high rate of HIV infection”, Journal of Advanced Nursing, 18: 80-88.
This article reported another aspect of the nurses and stress study. Importantly it explored the knowledge and attitudes of the nurses to the rising problem of nursing patients who were HIV +. At the time of this study Edinburgh, where the work was carried out, was known as the AIDS Capital of Europe.
Plant, M.L., Miller, P., Plant, M.A. and Thornton, C. (1999) ‘Life stage, alcohol consumption patterns, alcohol-related consequences and gender’, In: Bloomfield, K., Plant et al. (Eds.), Alcohol Consumption and Alcohol Problems Among Women in European Countries, Berlin, Free University/European Union, 178-204.
This EU funded project was carried out by several colleagues who then went on to be part of the GENACIS team. The majority of this group were women, many of whom are still active in the field. As can be seen from the title of this article the concept of life stage was introduced. This grouping rather than age was of particular relevance to women. Clearly a 21 year old woman in the UK or the USA was in a very different place from a 21 year old woman in Nigeria or Uganda. Life stage was therefore used to give a pictures of a women’s lives which could be more robustly compared across cultures
Plant, M.L. (1997) Women and Alcohol: Contemporary and Historical Perspectives, London, Free Association Books. (370 pages).
This book was the culmination of a number of years working in the field of alcohol and women. The fact that it was a book rather than an article allowed me the space to combine writing about research on many aspects of women and alcohol but more importantly to explore the complexities of the relationships. I have difficulty with the view that women and their relationships with alcohol is simple. This book gave me the opportunity to put this on paper along with highlighting the complexities of women’s lives lived externally with others and internally with themselves.
Plant, M.L., Abel, E. and Guerri, C. (1999) ‘Alcohol and pregnancy’, In: Macdonald, I. (Ed.) Health Issues Related to Alcohol Consumption, (2nd Edition) Oxford: Blackwell, 181-214.
I have always been pulled back into the issue of drinking in pregnancy perhaps partly because I believe facts are more useful that emotions when related to exploring evidence. As can be seen, this book went into a 2nd Edition
Berry, C.B., Crome, I.B., Plant, MA. and Plant, M.L. (2000) “Substance misuse amongst anaesthetists in the United Kingdom and Ireland”, Anaesthesia, 55: 946-952.
This article came from a report Martin and I wrote after collecting data from a UK wide study of anaesthetists. Although the report was confidential it was agreed to write something for the journal most often read by anaesthetists to raise awareness of the issues. Continuing the view that our work needed to be relevant and of use we were both pleased that this article was published
Plant, M.L., Miller, P., Thornton, C., Plant, M.A., and Bloomfield, K. (2000) ‘Life stage, alcohol consumption patterns, alcohol-related consequences and gender’, Substance Abuse, 21: 265-281.
The development of a European and then worldwide network of social scientists enabled a number of colleagues to work together. Prior to this series of research projects, even if data were collected on women it was frequently analysed together with the data collected from male respondents. This meant we really could not understand the difference between the genders in terms of drinking levels and other behaviours.
Plant, M.L. and Plant, M.A. (2001) “Heavy drinking by young British women gives cause for concern,” British Medical Journal, 323: 1183.
This was the first UK evidence to be published from the newly developed Gender, Alcohol and Culture: An International Study GENACIS which went on to have a major impact on organisations such as the WHO and some countries’ government policy decisions. This was a letter in the BMJ – always a good way to get new work out there quickly to a large and relevant readership.
Plant M.L. (2002) Women and Alcohol in Working with Substance Misusers: A Guide to Theory & Practice. T Peterson & A McBride (Eds) Routledge pps 276-284.
This chapter brought together two of the three “hats” I have worn. Alcohol researcher and one-time ward sister of the Alcohol Treatment Unit in Edinburgh. The idea behind the book was to connect the theory to practice. My experiences may have been the reason I was asked to contribute to books like this one.
Plant, M.L., Plant, M.A. and Mason, W. (2002) “Drinking, smoking and illicit drug use amongst British adults: gender differences explored,” Journal of Substance Use 7: 24-33.
The European network had begun to grow into a worldwide one. A group of us headed up by Professor Sharon Wilsnack decided to design and conduct research studies in our different countries focusing on women of the issues particularly relevant to woman. To this day the majority of researchers involved with GENACIS are women.
Plant M.L., Plant M.A. and Mason W.(2002) “People who enjoy drinking: Findings from a survey of British adults” The Drug and Alcohol Professional 2.26-37.
I felt this was an important addition to the alcohol research area. With my third “hat”, the psychotherapy one, experience tells me you cannot get a complete picture of someone’s drinking if you only ask about the negatives. Even people with severe drinking problems will see positives in their drinking.
Graham, K., Plant, M.L. and Plant, M.A. (2004) “Alcohol, gender and partner aggression: A general population study of British adults,” Addiction Research and Theory 12: 385-401.
For many years much of the work on alcohol had been conducted on people with drinking problems and was more medical research led. With the move of female social scientist into the arena general population studies analysing all the variables broken down by gender helped provide an overview of each countries drinking “normal” drinking patterns as well as alcohol related problems such as, in this case, aggression.
Plant, M.L., Plant, M.A. and Miller, P. (2004) “Childhood and adult sexual abuse: Relationships with ‘problem behaviours’ and health,” Child Abuse Review 13. 200-214.
These were some of the many variables collected in the UK GENACIS study. It added to the available evidence to help understand the impact of what are now called adverse childhood experiences
Plant M.L. (2004) Parental alcohol misuse: Implications for child placements in Children Exposed to Parental Substance Abuse, Philips, R. (Ed) British Association for Adoption & Fostering pps73-85.
This book chapter brought me back to the topic of pre-natal alcohol exposure and expanded it to the implications for fostering or adopting children with alcohol related birth trauma
Plant, M.L., Plant, M.A. and Miller, P. (2005) “Childhood and adult sexual abuse: Relationships with ‘addictive’ or ‘problem behaviours’ and health,” Journal of Addictive Diseases, 24: 25-37.
Much of my work as a psychotherapist used to be working with adults with histories of childhood trauma. I believe this clinical experience coupled with data collected from GENACIS made articles like this relevant to both researchers and clinicians.
Plant M.A. and Plant M.L. (2006) Binge Britain: Alcohol and the National Response, Oxford: Oxford University Press.
This one was one of a number of books Martin and I wrote together. It was timely as so much of the media was focussing on women and alcohol. The book was given a “Highly Commended” by the British Medical Association book awards.
Plant, M.L., Miller, P., Plant, M. A., Kuntsche, S. and Gmel, G. with Ahlström, S., Allamani, A., Beck, F., Bergmark, K., Bloomfield, K., Csémy, L., Elekes, Z., Knibbe, R., Kraus, L., Ólafsdóttir, H., Rossow, I. and Vidal, A. (2008) “Marriage, cohabitation, and alcohol consumption: An international exploration,” Journal of Substance Use, 13: 83-98.
Again working with a very experienced team of people this article showed the differences in people’s lives even though they appeared to be at similar life stages.
Plant, M.L. (2008) “The Role of Alcohol in Women’s Lives: A Review of Issues and Responses,” Journal of Substance Use, 13: 155-191.
This review was one I enjoyed writing. My idea was to explore many aspects such as gender stereotypes, acute and chronic consequences, gender sensitive treatments to alcohol control policies.
Plant M.L., Miller P., Plant M.A., Gmel G., Kuntsche, S. (2010) “The Social Consequences of Binge Drinking Among 24- to 32-Year-Olds in Six European Countries” Substance Use & Misuse, 45, 4. 528-542.
Another good example of the wealth of data collected in the GENCACIS project. Not only could data be analysed by gender but also, because of the size of the data set we could analyse by age and explore consumption patterns levels and problems in different age groups
Plant M., Allamani A., Massini G. and Pepe P. (2014) “Contextual Determinants and Alcohol Control Policies in the United Kingdom” Substance Use & Misuse 49. 12. 1576-1588.
My being the UK lead on the Alcohol Measures for Public Health Research Alliance (AMPHORA) project led to this article which was part of a series of articles on this topic from a number of different European countries. This was another EU project.
Holmila M., Beccaria F., Ibanga A., Graham K., Hettige S., Magri R., Munné M., Plant M., Rolanda S. and Tumwesigye N. (2014) “Gender, alcohol and intimate partner violence: Qualitative comparative study,” Drugs: Education, Prevention, and Policy. 21. 5. 398-407.
I have always believed that qualitative and quantitative research should work each to inform the other. This article on a qualitative study is a good example of how colleagues within the GENACIS group with different expertise can work productively together.
Young S., Absoud M., Blackburn C., Branney P., Colley B., Farrag E., Fleisher S., Gregory G., Gudjonsson., Kim K., O’Malley K., Plant M., Rodriquez A., Ozer S., Takon I., Woodhouse E. and Mukherjee R. (2016) “Guidelines for identification and treatment of individuals with attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder and associated fetal alcohol spectrum disorders based upon expert consensus” BMC Psychiatry 16. 324-338.
This much-quoted set of guidelines brought me back full circle to the pre-natal alcohol exposure and Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder FASD work where I had started in research. It was good to be part of a practical aspect of the area.
The opinions expressed in this commentary reflect the views of the author(s) and do not necessarily represent the opinions or official positions of the Society for the Study of Addiction.