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Thursday, August 11, 2011

Age differences in diagnostic criteria of DSM-IV alcohol dependence among adults with similar drinking behavior

To test age differences in the prevalence of DSM-IV alcohol dependence (AD) diagnostic criteria in the adult general population while controlling for drinking behavior.

Cross-sectional data from the 2006 German Epidemiological Survey of Substance Abuse (ESA) were used, applying a two-stage probability sampling design. The survey used self-administered questionnaires and telephone interviews (mixed-mode design; 45% response rate).

The analytical sample consisted of n = 6,984 individuals aged 18 to 64 years reporting alcohol consumption within the previous year.

Age effects on individual AD criteria were estimated using logistic regression models, adjusting for eight mutually exclusive drinking groups (defined in terms of average daily alcohol intake and episodic heavy drinking) and socioeconomic variables.

When controlling for drinking behavior, to 24-year-olds were more likely to meet the criteria ‘tolerance’, ‘larger/longer’, and ‘time spent’ relative to older age groups. In contrast, the likelihood of experiencing ‘withdrawal’ symptoms increased with age. There was no significant age effect on the diagnosis of AD.

Age differences in the prevalence of specific alcohol dependence diagnostic criteria such as ‘tolerance', ‘drinking larger amount or for longer than intended' and ‘time spent recovering' cannot be fully explained by differences in drinking behavior.

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