Binge Drinking During the Economic Downturn: Did the Rate of Increase in Alcohol-related Suicides Mirror Consumption Patterns in the General Population?
methods: Data from the National Violent Death Reporting System (2005-11) and the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (2006-11) were analyzed by multiple logistic regression to test whether the change in acute intoxication (i.e., BAC≥0.08 g/dl or "binge drinking") during the Great Recession was explained by a change in binge drinking patterns in a living sample.
results: The fraction of male suicide decedents who engaged in binge drinking before their death increased significantly more (+8%) than what was observed in the living sample (-2%, p<.001) shortly after the start of the Great Recession. These findings were observed among all age and racial/ethnic groups. Among women, there were no significant differences in the rate of increase in binge drinking at the start of the economic downturn relative to the living population (+2 vs. +3%, p = .52, respectively). However, Hispanic (+7% vs. +6%, p<.05) and African American (+40% vs. +27%, p<.05) female suicide decedents had higher rates of increase than their living counterparts.
discussion: There is growing evidence that binge drinking increased significantly more among persons (especially men) who completed suicide during the recent Great Recession relative to their counterparts in the living population.
Public health or related education
Social and behavioral sciences
Discuss the effects of the recent economic crisis on the general population and among suicide decedents.
Keyword(s): Alcohol Use, Suicide
Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have expertise in suicide research and serve as PI on the NIAAA grant that supported this research.
Any relevant financial relationships? No
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