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Saturday, April 28, 2012

The great recession, somatic symptomatology and alcohol use and abuse

While most research has examined the long-term effects of alcohol consumption on health, the current study examines how health status impacts on drinking behavior.

Using data from a national study conducted between 2010 and 2011 to assess the impact of the recession on drinking behavior, this study examines how economic hardships linked to the recent economic recession affect physical health, and how physical health may in turn affect alcohol use. Structural equation models were used to test the predicted associations.

The data demonstrate that many of the economic stressors linked to the recession are associated with increased somatic symptoms. Somatic symptoms are also associated with increased drinking for men, but not for women.

These findings suggest that men may use alcohol to self medicate somatic symptomatology. The current findings are consistent with gender role-based explanations that account for gender disparities in the utilization of medical care.

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