25 August 2020 In Drinking Patterns

INTRODUCTION: A significant minority of Australians drink within the 2009 national guidelines. Despite encouragement of low-risk drinking as opposed to consumption patterns associated with greater harm, little is known about the drinking patterns of this group. This paper identifies subgroups of low-risk drinkers and their distinguishable characteristics.

METHODS: Data were sourced from the 2016 National Drug Strategy Household Survey, specifically 8492 adults (18+) who consumed 1-730 Australian standard drinks (ASD; 10 g ethanol) in the past year, and never 5+ ASD on a single occasion. Cluster analysis enabled identification of subgroups from drinking variables. Drinking patterns, socio-demographic characteristics, drinking context and alcohol-related perceptions of subgroups were examined.

RESULTS: Three subgroups were identified. Special occasion drinkers (64.6%) drank low to moderate amounts very infrequently. Regular moderates (19.6%) and Regular sippers (15.8%) drank 5-6 days a week on average, with the average number of ASD per day 1.2 and 0.5, respectively. Special occasion drinkers tended to be younger than members of more regular drinking subgroups. Perceptions of regular alcohol use also differed between Special occasion drinkers and members of the other subgroups.

DISCUSSION: Alcohol consumption patterns among low-risk drinkers are not homogeneous. Younger drinkers who consume at low-risk levels are more likely to report infrequent consumption than moderate regular consumption. A better understanding of low-risk drinkers may help increase the prominence and acceptability of this type of drinking, challenge the normativity of heavier drinking norms and help target campaigns as new information emerges on health risks associated with low-level drinking.

25 August 2020 In Drinking Patterns

BACKGROUND: People who drink alcohol often seek to manage their intake in order to maximise the pleasurable effects, such as feelings of sociability and relaxation, without reaching their 'tipping point', where they feel out of control, or unwell. This paper aimed to explore three stages of intoxication; feeling the effects; being as drunk as you would like to be; and reaching the tipping point (feeling more drunk than you want to be) in a large international sample.

METHODS: The Global Drug Survey (GDS) is an annual, cross-sectional, online survey of drug use. This paper draws on data from 61,043 respondents (63.7% male) from 21 countries who took part in GDS2015 collected in November 2014 to January 2015. Respondents reported their usual type of drink; how many drinks they would require to reach each stage of intoxication and how frequently they reached each stage. Alongside socio-demographic measures, they also completed the Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Test (AUDIT).

RESULTS: Male respondents reported consuming 87.55 gm to be as drunk as they want to be and female respondents reported 70.16 gm, on average. The tipping point was reached at 138.65 gm for male respondents and 106.54 gm for female respondents. Overall 20.3% reported reaching their tipping point at least once a month. Being male, aged under 25 and at higher risk for alcohol use disorder was associated with reporting reaching the tipping point more frequently.

CONCLUSIONS: The amount of alcohol being consumed to reach a desired point of intoxication is much higher than the maximum daily, and sometimes weekly, amount recommended by country guidelines. Encouraging people to avoid reaching their tipping point may be a useful intervention point alongside better communication of low risk drinking guidelines.

25 August 2020 In Drinking Patterns

OBJECTIVE: Social capital has been described as having both positive influences as well as negative influences ("the dark side") on health behaviors. We sought to test the association of perceived social capital on the risk of binge drinking among older adults, using a longitudinal design.

METHODS: We used HRS (Health and Retirement Study) data, a nationally representative sample of US adults aged >/=50 years evaluated every two years (from 2006 to 2014). We investigated the relationship between perceived social capital (neighborhood social cohesion and neighborhood physical disorder, positive social support and negative social support) and binge drinking over time, with a multilevel structural equation modelling (MSEM) approach, modelling number of binge-drinking days as hurdle negative binomial. We used MSEM estimating the associations at person level (overall) and within waves.

RESULTS: The sample included 19,140 individuals. At baseline mean age was 66.8 (SD 10.3). Over time, the number of binge drinking days decreased. Negative social support increased the average number of binge drinking days among those who drink, where one unit increase was associated with an increase of 37 % in the expected number of days binge drinking in the same wave. The association of positive social support on the number of binge drinking days was stronger for females (-0.59 (SE = 0.12)), while neighborhood social cohesion was significantly associated with binge drinking in females (-0.05 (SE = 0.01)), but not in males.

CONCLUSIONS: Negative social support favored binge drinking. Positive social support and neighborhood social cohesion are protective factors for binge drinking, especially for women.

25 August 2020 In Drinking Patterns

INTRODUCTION: Estimates of alcohol consumption in the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System are generally lower than those in other surveys of U.S. adults. This study compares the estimates of adults' drinking patterns and the distribution of drinks consumed by average daily alcohol consumption from 2 nationwide telephone surveys.

METHODS: The 2014-2015 National Alcohol Survey (n=7,067) and the 2015 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (n=408,069) were used to assess alcohol consumption among adults (>/=18 years), analyzed in 2019. The weighted prevalence of binge-level drinking and the distribution of drinks consumed by average daily alcohol consumption (low, medium, high) were assessed for the previous 12 months using the National Alcohol Survey and the previous 30 days using the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System, stratified by respondents' characteristics.

RESULTS: The prevalence of binge-level drinking in a day was 26.1% for the National Alcohol Survey; the binge drinking prevalence was 17.4% for the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System. The prevalence of high average daily alcohol consumption among current drinkers was 8.2% for the National Alcohol Survey, accounting for 51.0% of total drinks consumed, and 3.3% for the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System, accounting for 27.7% of total drinks consumed.

CONCLUSIONS: National Alcohol Survey yearly prevalence estimates of binge-level drinking in a day and high average daily consumption were consistently greater than Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System monthly binge drinking and high average daily consumption prevalence estimates. When planning and evaluating prevention strategies, the impact of different survey designs and methods on estimates of excessive drinking and related harms is important to consider.

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