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Can J Psychiatry. 2001 Jun;46(5):422-5.

A prospective study of sex-specific effects of major depression on alcohol consumption.

Author information

  • 1Department of Community Health and Epidemiology, Faculty of Medicine, Dalhousie University, 5849 University Avenue, Halifax, NS B3H 4H7. Jwang@tupdean2.med.dal.ca



To evaluate the impact of major depression on alcohol use in the Canadian general population.


This study was based on a 2-year follow-up of the Canadian National Population Health Survey (NPHS) longitudinal cohort. Subjects reporting various patterns of drinking, with and without major depression, were selected using the 1994-95 NPHS data. Data collected during a reevaluation of these subjects 2 years later were analyzed to determine whether having major depression at the 1994-95 interview predicted subsequent changes in drinking patterns.


Subjects who were depressed in 1994-95 were generally not at higher risk of starting drinking or drinking more frequently than once a week. However, women who were depressed, especially those who were 19 years old or older, were at higher risk of having 5 or more drinks at least once monthly.


These results confirm that mood disorders can impact on alcohol consumption in women. A component of the well-known association between alcohol consumption and major depression is due to "reverse" causal effects. Proper management of depression in women may contribute to the prevention of problem drinking.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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