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J Stud Alcohol. 1999 Jan;60(1):120-9.

Social resources and alcohol-related losses as predictors of help seeking among male problem drinkers.

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  • 1Department of Medical Sociology, Maastricht University, The Netherlands.



This study examined whether factors other than severity of alcohol-related problems add to the explanation of seeking help for drinking problems.


Help seeking was investigated by comparing male problem drinkers who applied for treatment with male chronic problem drinkers in the general population. Subjects were selected from an outpatient treatment center (n = 129) and from a panel of the general population (n = 86) in the Netherlands. A shortened version of Cahalan's problem-drinking index, including symptoms, social consequences, health problems and frequency of intoxication, was used to indicate the severity of problem drinking. It was hypothesized that in particular drinking problems that indicate losses (social consequences and health problems) were associated with help seeking. Furthermore, resources such as paid work, a spouse, high socioeconomic status, younger age and a "wet" social network were expected to facilitate the continuation of drinking behavior and drinking problems and the avoidance of help seeking.


Social and health consequences were associated more strongly with seeking help than were symptoms of problem drinking and intoxication. The effects of type of alcohol-related problem, employment and age were as hypothesized. However, the hypotheses about marital status, socioeconomic status and social network characteristics could not be confirmed.


The results suggest that in particular employed men and men of a younger age deserve attention with regards to detecting problem drinking and targeting prevention.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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