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Thursday, July 5, 2012

Patterns of alcohol use, their correlates, and impact in male drinkers: a population-based survey from Goa, India

Associations between low socio-economic class and alcohol use disorders are relatively well established in developed countries; however, there is comparably little research in India and other developing countries on the associations between socio-economic class, drinking patterns, and alcohol-related problems. We sought to assess drinking patterns and adverse outcomes among male drinkers and examine whether the association between drinking patterns and adverse outcomes differ by socioeconomic class.

Population survey of 732 male drinkers screened from 1,899 men, aged 18 to 49 years, randomly selected from rural and urban communities in northern Goa, India.

Usual quantity of alcohol consumed by 14.8 % (rural 16.8 %; urban 13.6 %) current drinkers is at high-risk level. About 28.6 % (rural 31 %; urban 27.2 %) and 33.7 % (rural 30.5 %; urban 35.5 %) of current drinkers reported monthly or more frequent heavy episodic drinking and drunkenness, respectively. Lower education and lower standard of living (SLI) were associated with higher usual quantity of alcohol consumption. More frequent heavy episodic drinking was associated with older age, being separated, lower education, and lower standard of living; weekly or more frequent drunkenness was associated only with rural residence. All three risky drinking patterns were associated with common mental disorders, sexual risk, intimate partner violence, acute alcohol-related consequences, and alcohol dependence. Significant interactions between SLI and risky alcohol use patterns suggested an increased risk of intimate partner violence among men with risky drinking and lower SLI.

Risky drinking patterns are common among male drinkers in Goa and associated with lower socio-economic class. A range of adverse health and social outcomes were associated with risky drinking across all socio-economic classes. Alcohol policy should target risky drinking patterns, particularly among poorer men, to reduce the health and social burden of alcohol use in India.

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