To support the free and open dissemination of research findings and information on alcoholism and alcohol-related problems. To encourage open access to peer-reviewed articles free for all to view.

For full versions of posted research articles readers are encouraged to email requests for "electronic reprints" (text file, PDF files, FAX copies) to the corresponding or lead author, who is highlighted in the posting.


Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Increases in Typical Quantities Consumed and Alcohol-Related Problems During a Decade of Liberalizing Alcohol Policy

The aim of this study was to assess trends in drinking patterns and alcohol-related problems among age and gender groups in the context of a liberalized alcohol policy environment.

Eleven comparable general popula
tion alcohol surveys were conducted between 1990 and 2000 in Auckland, New Zealand, during which a substantial number of liberalizing alcohol policy changes occurred. Measurements included typical-occasion quantity and frequency of drinking in the last 12 months. Self-reported alcohol-related problems in the last 12 months were divided into two groups based on risk curve analysis: threshold problems (experienced only once a high level of consumption is reached) and nonthreshold problems (those exhibiting a dose-response relationship). Age groups were 14–19, 20–24, 25–39, and 40–65 years.

Significant increases in typical-occasion quantity were found for young men and young women ages 14–19 years and for women 20–24 and 40–65 years. The increase was most marked among those 14–19 years old. Only women ages 25–39 years increased how often they drank. The prevalence of threshold problems significantly increased among male drinkers ages 14–19 and 40–65 years. The proportion of 14- to 19-year-olds experiencing threshold problems was observed to be higher in each year compared with those 40–65 years old, and the 14- to 19-year-olds experienced a greater year-on-year increase. Increases in nonthreshold alcohol-related problems occurred for the youngest and oldest males and for most female age groups (14–19, 25–39, and 40–65 years). The increase was most marked among those 14–19 years old.

Increases in quantities consumed and alcohol-related problems were found predominantly among young people and women. The youngest age group, those 14–19 years old, experienced the most marked increases in quantity consumed and problems including, for males, the experience of more serious problems such as "had hands shake in the morning" (experienced only once a high level of consumption is reached).

Read Full Abstract

Request Reprint E-Mail: