The 130th Annual Meeting of APHA

3078.0: Monday, November 11, 2002 - 10:37 AM

Abstract #45280

How drinking patterns affect alcohol dependence and consequences: A risk-curve analysis from a multi-ethnic national sample

Thomas K. Greenfield, PhD1, Jason Bond, PhD2, Lorraine T. Midanik, PhD3, Cheryl J. Cherpitel, DrPH2, and William C. Kerr, PhD2. (1) Alcohol Research Group, Public Health Institute, 2000 Hearst Ave., Suite 300, Berkeley, CA 94709-2130, (510) 642-5208,, (2) Alcohol Research Group, 2000 Hearst Avenue, Berkeley, CA 94709, (3) School of Social Welfare, University of California at Berkeley, 120 Haviland Hall, Berkeley, CA 94720-7400

Background By detailing how parameters of drinking interact in contributing to risks of experiencing various harms from alcohol consumption, risk curve analyses have the potential to shed light on the underlying etiology and clarify "safe drinking guidelines" for public health promotion. Requirements include good measurement in large nationally representative surveys including ethnic minorities and other at-risk groups. Methods Main and oversample cases with complete data in the new National Alcohol Survey (n=6696) were included in regression and graphical analyses to study the relationship between alcohol problems and drinking volume, frequency of heavy drinking (5+ drinks/day), and their interactions. Problem measures were logged numbers of alcohol dependence symptoms and tangible consequences (e.g., job, family, legal harms). Results Modeling dose-response functions showed that both log volume and log frequency of 5+ were strongly significant in predicting level of problem risk, but that their interaction was even stronger, after controlling demographics including age, gender, marital status, income, and education. Drinking 5+ at all in the prior year was predictive throughout the volume range, but had the largest effect among the heavier average drinkers (3-4 drinks/day). Results were similar for black, white and Hispanic groups. Discussion The role of heavy drinking depends on average intake; other drinking variables are also found important. Conclusions implications for public health policy and practice include identifying high-risk groups, helping design effective interventions and distinguish safer from more hazardous drinking patterns. (Supported by Center Grant P50 05595 from the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism.)

Learning Objectives: Participants who attend this presentation will be able to

Keywords: Alcohol Problems, Special Populations

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Presenting author's disclosure statement:
I do not have any significant financial interest/arrangement or affiliation with any organization/institution whose products or services are being discussed in this session.

Special Populations - What People Say: The National Alcohol Survey

The 130th Annual Meeting of APHA