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Am J Crit Care. 2000 Jan;9(1):28-35.

Attribution of injury to alcohol involvement in young adults seriously injured in alcohol-related motor vehicle crashes.

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  • 1College of Nursing, University of Cincinnati, Ohio, USA.



Approximately 40% of all traffic fatalities are associated with the use of alcohol. Hospitalization for serious injury after a motor vehicle crash related to use of alcohol may be an opportunity to change drinking behaviors in non-alcohol-dependent drinkers, thereby reducing the risk for future disability and death.


To determine the degree to which non-alcohol-dependent adults aged 18 to 45 years with alcohol-related vehicular trauma attributed their injury to use of alcohol.


During hospitalization, 132 subjects involved in alcohol-related motor vehicle crashes were interviewed. The interviews included the question, "To what extent do you believe your alcohol consumption was responsible for this injury?" Responses were measured on a 7-point scale ranging from 1 (not at all) to 7 (totally).


In response to the question about attribution of injury to alcohol, 37.8% of subjects responded "not at all," 24.3 responded "somewhat," and 37.9% responded "mostly" or "totally." Spearman rank correlation between attribution of injury to alcohol involvement and blood alcohol content at admission was r = 0.440 (P < .001).


More than 60% of patients injured in alcohol-related motor vehicle crashes attributed their injury partly or totally to use of alcohol. When alcohol-free, hospitalized patients with higher blood levels of alcohol on admission were more likely than those with lower levels to attribute their injury to alcohol. Hospitalization for a motor vehicle crash related to use of alcohol provides an opportunity for interventions to decrease drinking.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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