Page last updated: June 5, 2017

Correlates of alcohol consumption on heavy drinking occasions of young risky drinkers

Risky single occasion drinking (RSOD) by young people is a serious public health issue, yet little is known about the specific circumstances of risky drinking occasions. A study examined the independent effects of event- and individual-specific variables on RSOD.

The Longitudinal cohort study in Melbourne, Australia measured self-reported RSOD and eventand individual-specific variables across two drinking occasions approximately one year apart in a sample of 710 young risky drinkers aged between 18 and 25 years engaging in risky drinking practices. (Risky drinking practices were defined for males as having consumed alcohol in excess of 10 Australian Standard Drinks [ASDs: 10 g ethanol] in a single occasion in the previous year; and for females as having consumed alcohol in excess of 7 ASDs for females in a single occasion in the previous year).

A random digit dial telephone landline survey was used to gather information about the participants’ most recent heavy drinking occasion and sociodemographic variables. Event-specific (e.g. number of drinking locations) and time-varying (e.g. weekly income) and time-invariant (e.g. sex) individual–specific variables were examined as correlates of total drinks consumed. Changes in event-specific characteristics including the length of the drinking occasion, the number of drinking locations and the number of different drink types were associated with increases in total drinks consumed, after adjustment for time-invariant and time-variant individual-specific variables. Few other effects were noted.

The study found that event-specific characteristics are important predictors of the number of drinks consumed during risky single occasion drinking (RSOD) and illustrate the importance of event contexts when considering interventions targeting RSOD. The total number of drinks consumed in a RSOD session appears to rise independently with the duration of the drinking event, the number of drinking locations, and the number of different types of beverage consumed.

Source: Correlates of alcohol consumption on heavy drinking occasions of young risky drinkers: event versus personal characteristics. Dietze, P, Agius, PA, Livingston, M, Callinan, S, Jenkinson, R, Lim, MSC, Wright, CJC, and Room, R. (2017) Addiction, doi: 10.1111/add.13829.


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