Concepts of FASD Risk in Six Different Countries

Review paper explores the construction of FASD risk in Canada, China, Uganda, Uruguay, the United Kingdom, and the United States

The GENACIS (Gender, Alcohol and Culture: An International Study) research team published an article last week in the journal Substance Use and Misuse on international perspectives on the construction of FASD risk.

GENACIS is a multidisciplinary international research project involving researchers from over 35 countries and developed to address the dearth of comparable data on gender and alcohol use across cultures. Six researchers from the GENACIS team, each from a different country, explored understandings of risk related to women’s alcohol use during pregnancy in their respective countries.

In each of the six countries (Canada, China, Uganda, Uruguay, the United Kingdom, and the United States), the researchers attempted to answer the following questions:

  • What do we know about drinking during pregnancy in different countries?
  • What are the differing interpretations of risk and related “messages” pertaining to women’s drinking during pregnancy across cultures and how do these interpretations of risk impact policy and practice?
  • What are the different challenges and opportunities for countries in terms of research and responses related to women’s alcohol consumption, including consumption during pregnancy?

Not surprisingly, the reviewers found a diversity of approaches and understandings of how serious a concern women’s alcohol use during pregnancy is perceived to be and how these concerns should be addressed. The review clearly demonstrates how finding solutions to FASD need to be context-specific and conscious of the social, political, and economic factors affecting women’s use of alcohol in general.


Drabble, L., Poole, N., Magri, R., Tumwesigye, N.M., Li, Q., Plant, M. (2011). Conceiving Risk, Divergent Responses: Perspectives on the Construction of Risk of FASD in Six Countries. Substance Use & Misuse, Early Online:1–16. ISSN: 1082-6084 print / 1532-2491 online. DOI: 10.3109/10826084.2010.527419.

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