BACKGROUND: Several studies have investigated the predictors of alcohol consumption behavior among adolescents and young adults. However, the body of evidence about the relationship between in particular psychological factors and alcohol consumption among individuals in the second half of life is still limited. Hence, we aimed at identifying factors associated with alcohol consumption among individuals aged 40 and above, especially focusing on psychological correlates. METHODS: Data were derived from a population-based sample of community-dwelling individuals aged 40 to 95 years (n = 7820) in Germany. Alcohol consumption was rated as 'never' (never drinkers), 'rarer than once a month', 'one to three times a month', 'once a week', 'several times a week' (occasional drinkers), and 'daily' (daily drinkers). Socio-economic factors, the illness level and physical activity were considered as possible determinants of alcohol consumption. In addition, positive and negative affect, life satisfaction, optimism, self-esteem, self-efficacy, and self-regulation were included as psychological factors. Multinomial regressions were used to identify factors associated with drinking behavior. RESULTS: 12.0% of the individuals were daily drinkers, 76.5% were occasional drinkers, and 11.5% of the individuals never drank alcohol. After adjusting for various potential confounders, multinomial logistic regressions revealed that, compared with never drinking, occasional and daily drinking were positively associated with a decreased loneliness, a higher life satisfaction, a higher positive affect, a higher optimism, a higher self-efficacy (occasional drinkers), a higher self-esteem, and less perceived stress. In addition, occasional and daily drinking were positively associated with less physical illnesses, male gender, and income as compared with never drinking. CONCLUSIONS: The current study extends the existing literature on alcohol consumption behavior by new insights of correlates of drinking behavior among individuals in the second half of life. Since interventions are available to address this risk factor, this might help to identify individuals with increased alcohol consumption

BACKGROUND: The serious negative health consequences of heavy drinking among adolescents is cause for concern, especially among adolescents aged 15 to 20 years with a low educational background. In the Netherlands, there is a lack of alcohol prevention programs directed to the drinking patterns of this specific target group. The study described in this protocol will test the effectiveness of a web-based brief alcohol intervention that aims to reduce alcohol use among heavy drinking adolescents aged 15 to 20 years with a low educational background.

METHODS/DESIGN: The effectiveness of the What Do You Drink (WDYD) web-based brief alcohol intervention will be tested among 750 low-educated, heavy drinking adolescents. It will use a two-arm parallel group cluster randomized controlled trial. Classes of adolescents from educational institutions will be randomly assigned to either the experimental (n = 375: web-based brief alcohol intervention) or control condition (n = 375: no intervention). Primary outcomes measures will be: 1) the percentage of participants who drink within the normative limits of the Dutch National Health Council for low-risk drinking, 2) reductions in mean weekly alcohol consumption, and 3) frequency of binge drinking. The secondary outcome measures include the alcohol-related cognitions, attitudes, self-efficacy, and subjective norms, which will be measured at baseline and at one and six months after the intervention.

DISCUSSION: This study protocol presents the study design of a two-arm parallel-group randomized controlled trial to evaluate the effectiveness of the WDYD web-based brief alcohol intervention. We hypothesized a reduction in mean weekly alcohol consumption and in the frequency of binge drinking in the experimental condition, resulting from the web-based brief alcohol intervention, compared to the control condition. 


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