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Thursday, January 12, 2012
Drinking patterns, psychological distress and quality of life in a Norwegian general population-based sample
The purpose of this study was to investigate possible relationships between drinking patterns, psychological distress and quality of life (QoL) in a general population-based sample in Norway.
A random sample of 4,000 Norwegian citizens, aged 18 to 79, was drawn from the National Register held by Statistics Norway.
Males consumed significantly more alcohol and reported more drinking-related problems with more negative consequences, compared to females. Psychological distress increased, and all QoL domain scores decreased with increasing alcohol consumption within the group drinking alcohol at all. The excessive drinkers demonstrated the highest level of psychological distress and lowest QoL in the psychological, social relationships and environment domains. Non-drinkers reported to have poorest QoL in the physical health domain, whereas light and moderate drinkers demonstrated lowest psychological distress and best QoL. Psychological distress demonstrated substantial more importance for QoL than socio-demographic variables, alcohol consumption, alcohol dependency and negative consequences of alcohol use did.
The findings indicate the need for a focus on psychological distress and its negative impact upon all QoL domains. Attention should also be paid to excessive drinkers who have poor QoL (psychological, social relationships and environment domains) and a high level of psychological distress. In addition, non-drinkers reported poor physical health. Further research is needed concerning the relation between alcohol consumption, psychological distress and QoL both in general population studies and in more specific samples.