Online Program

Association between physical activity and alcohol abuse and dependence: Findings from the National Survey of American Life (NSAL)

Monday, November 2, 2015

April Joy Damian, MSc, Department of Mental Health, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Baltimore, MD
Background: Though the association between physical exercise and lower prevalence of mood and anxiety disorders is well documented, the association between physical activity and other common mental disorders, including alcohol abuse and dependence, remains unexplored. Identifying risk and protective factors contributing to mental and physical health of racial/ethnic minorities is also a gap. The current study aimed to determine whether physical activity was associated with decreased prevalence of alcohol abuse and dependence among Black adults in the U.S.

Methods:We utilized data on Black adult participants (n=5,007) from the nationally representative National Survey of American Life (NSAL), 2001-2003. Logistic regression estimated the odds ratios of alcohol abuse and dependence by physical activity frequency (rarely/never vs. often engaging in sports/exercise), adjusting for socio-demographic and neighborhood characteristics.

Results: People rarely/never engaging in physical activity had higher odds of alcohol abuse based on both the DSM-IV (OR=1.88, 95% CI=1.35-2.61, p<0.05) and ICD-10 (OR=1.84, 95% CI=1.33-2.55, p<0.05), than people often engaging in physical activity, adjusting for socio-demographic factors and neighborhood characteristics. The adjusted odds of alcohol dependence among people rarely or never engaging in exercise were significant based on ICD-10 criteria (OR=1.78, 95% CI=1.03-3.05, p<0.05), but not DSM-IV criteria.

Conclusions: The findings provide evidence for a negative association between frequency of physical activity and alcohol abuse and, to a lesser degree, alcohol dependency. Longitudinal studies are needed to establish temporal ordering, and the possibility of a similar association between exercise and use of tobacco and/or other drugs.

Learning Areas:

Conduct evaluation related to programs, research, and other areas of practice
Diversity and culture
Other professions or practice related to public health
Public health or related research
Social and behavioral sciences

Learning Objectives:
Evaluate whether there is a significant negative association between self-reported frequency of physical activity and alcohol abuse and dependency among Black Americans. Assess whether the association between physical activity and alcohol abuse and dependence is independent of potential confounders including sociodemographic and individual physical factors, and neighborhood characteristics.

Keyword(s): Physical Activity, Alcohol Use

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am currently a NIDA Drug Dependence Epidemiology Training Fellow. I have been involved in multiple mixed methods research projects assessing the use of physical activity to promote mental health of ethnic/racial minorities. My primary interests include the use of physical activity and mindfulness-based interventions to promote resiliency and decrease maladaptive behavior, including drug dependency and violence, in low-opportunity communities.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.