The number of people for whom information was available has varied over the course of the research between 9,665 and 17,287.The researchers took account of each individual's school test results and level of academic attainment, as well as their answers to regularly-administered surveys in which they were asked questions such as "Have you ever felt you should cut down on your drinking?

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They tend to have children later, postponing the responsibilities of parenthood.

They may have more active social lives or work in male-dominated workplaces with a drinking culture.

As girls, they may have grown up in middle-class families and seen their parents drink regularly.

In the long-term study, the LSE team followed all the people born in Britain during one week in 1970, asking them questions about their lifestyle at regular periods throughout their lives.

Women with degree-level qualifications were 86 per cent more likely to do so.

Higher educated women were 1.7 times more likely to have a drinking problem, as assessed through their questionnaire answers, than their less-well-educated counterparts.Women who scored highly in tests while at school were also at greater risk of having drinking problems.The findings come from a comprehensive study carried out at the London School of Economics in which researchers tracked the lives of thousands of 39-year-old women and men, all born in the UK during the same week in 1970.Women's alcohol consumption can even be predicted from their scores in school tests taken when they are as as young as five.Women who achieved "medium" or "high" test marks as schoolgirls are up to 2.1 times more likely to drink daily as adults.The authors of the report, Francesca Borgonovi and Maria Huerta, suggest several possible explanations as to why better-educated women drink more.