Abstinence from alcohol has been associated with higher mortality than a moderate consumption of alcohol. However, there is evidence to indicate that the abstainers constitute a select group which is exposed to various psychosocial risk factors.
A population-based sample (N=1978) from the study Young in Norway - longitudinal was followed with repeated surveys from their teens until approaching the age of 30. This data set was linked to various registries. The collection of data included their use of alcohol, social integration and symptoms of anxiety and depression, as well as sexual behaviour. Data on receipt of social benefits were collected from registries.
At age 21, altogether 211 individuals (10.7%) had remained abstinent from alcohol throughout their entire lives. At age 28, their number had fallen to 93 individuals (4.7%). At age 21, abstinence was associated with weak networks of friends, loneliness and a higher likelihood of not yet having had a sexual debut. At age 28, the abstainers also reported a higher prevalence of symptoms of anxiety and depression. They were also more frequent recipients of social benefits.
Abstinence from alcohol in adulthood is associated with psychosocial problems and weak integration. These may introduce confounding factors in studies of the health effects of alcohol consumption.
Comment In: Tidsskr Nor Laegeforen. 2013 Mar 5;133(5):50123463056
Comment In: Tidsskr Nor Laegeforen. 2013 Mar 5;133(5):50123463055
The purpose of this study was first to compare 18-19-year-old male abstainers with alcohol consumers, and especially light consumers, regarding degree of sociability as indicated by their (in)security in the company of others, their number of close friends, intimate conversations with friends and their popularity in school. Secondly, we analysed the importance of antecedents to and covariates of abstinence. In addition, the significant antecedents and covariates gave us information as to abstinence patterns. The study was based on a survey of all Swedish males, 18-19 years old, conscripted for military service in 1969-70. Data had been collected by means of questionnaires and psychological interviews, giving measures of each respondent's social background, psychiatric/psychological and psychosomatic health status, substance use, deviant behaviour and degree of sociability. Poor sociability was more common among the abstainers than among all the other categories of drinkers, including the light consumers. The conscripts' social background, and especially their fathers' drinking habits, had the strongest effects in explaining abstinence. Sixty-two per cent of all abstainers had non-drinking fathers, compared to 28% of the light consumers. As to the majority of abstainers, this indicates a link between the social background of temperance and their own reported abstinence. Their poor sociability could be a consequence of abstaining at a young age when abstinence is uncommon. Those who abstained despite a drinking father showed a worsening psychological status, suggesting a link between psychologically impaired health, poor sociability and abstinence. Though the abstainers were the least sociable, the difference between the abstainers, the light consumers and the moderate consumers in other categories were generally small.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)
Although drinking patterns in women have received increased attention, few studies have focused on middle-aged women. Drinking patterns were investigated in a population sample of 513 Swedish women aged 50-59, and analysed in relation to social situation, and mental and physical health. The chi-square test was used to analyse differences in proportions. Variables showing significant differences were entered into a multivariate or multinomial logistic regression model. Abstainers and occasional drinkers had lower levels of education and more often regular medical control compared with weekly drinkers. Furthermore, abstainers more often had disability pension. Among women drinking alcohol, 56.6% affirmed binge drinking within the last year and 39.4% within the last month. Binge drinkers did not differ in terms of social situation, mental or physical health, compared with other drinkers. Drinking to relieve tension was affirmed by 7.2%. These women had more mental symptoms and less contact with friends compared with other drinkers; furthermore, they were more often binge drinkers. Binge drinking was common and health and social consequences of this drinking pattern in middle-aged women need to be further explored. Women drinking to relieve tension may need intervention for both drinking habits and mental health.
OBJECTIVE: To test the effects of father's alcoholism on the development and remission from alcoholic drinking by age 40. METHOD: Subjects were selected from a Danish birth cohort that included 223 sons of alcoholic fathers (high risk; HR) and 106 matched controls (low risk; LR). Clinical examinations were performed at age 40 (n = 202) by a psychiatrist using structured interviews and DSM-III-R diagnostic criteria. RESULTS: HR subjects were significantly more likely than LR subjects to develop alcohol dependence (31% vs. 16%), but not alcohol abuse (17% vs. 15%). More subjects with alcohol abuse were in remission at age 40 than subjects with alcohol dependence. Risk did not predict remission from either alcohol abuse or alcohol dependence. CONCLUSION: Familial influences may play a stronger role in the development of alcoholism than in the remission or recovery from alcoholism.
Alcohol and (or) illicit drug use (AIDU) problems are associated with mental health difficulties, but low-to-moderate alcohol consumption may have mental health benefits, compared with abstinence. Our study aimed to explore the hypothesis of a nonlinear, or J-curve, relation between AIDU profiles and psychological distress, psychiatric disorders, and mental health service use in the general Canadian population.
Data were collected from a representative sample of the Canadian population (n = 36 984). Multiple correspondence analyses and cluster analyses were used to extract AIDU profiles. Sociodemographics, psychological distress, psychiatric disorders, and mental health service use were assessed and compared between profiles.
Seven AIDU profiles emerged, including 3 involving risky or problematic AIDU that correlate with major affective disorders, anxiety disorders, suicidal behaviours, and higher levels of psychological distress. No J-curve relation was found for psychiatric disorders and mental health service use. The lifetime-abstainer profile correlates with the lowest rates of psychiatric disorders and mental health service use. Lifetime abstainers are also more often female, immigrant, and unemployed. Compared with other profiles, spirituality is more important in their life.
The hypothesis of a nonlinear relation between psychiatric disorders and AIDU was not supported. Lifetime AIDU abstainers have specific sociodemographic and cultural background characteristics in Canada.
Anniversary announcements published in the national AA newsletter are used to analyze membership turnover in Finnish AA. Of the total membership with at least 1 year of sobriety, close to 90% continue as sober members for another year. Of those having 1 year of sobriety, about two-thirds survive to the next year. The survival rate of members with between 2 and 5 years of sobriety is about 85%. Among members with more than 5 years of sobriety, the survival rate is above 90%. There are no gender differences in survival rates. The sober membership of AA represents between one-third and one-fifth of general population survey estimates of the number of abstaining former frequent drinkers with concerns about losing control over their drinking behavior.