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J Stud Alcohol. 2004 Sep;65(5):582-5.

Personality traits and drinking to cope as predictors of hazardous drinking among medical students.

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Atferdssenteret, Unirand AS, P.O. Box 1565 Vika, 0118 Oslo, Norway.



The purpose of this study was to describe the prevalence and development of drinking to cope and hazardous drinking among medical students and to examine whether various personality traits and drinking to cope predict hazardous drinking.


In a 6-year prospective study of a nationwide sample of medical students (N = 421) assessments were made by questionnaire at the beginning (T1) and at the end (T2) of each participant's tenure at medical school. A cohort of 272 medical students (56% women) from all medical schools in Norway participated at both T1 and T2. The questionnaires encompassed measures of personality characteristics (Basic Characteristic Inventory) and alcohol-use (hazardous drinking and drinking to cope).


The levels of drinking to cope and hazardous drinking were not significantly different between T1 and T2, rising from 9.2% to 11.8% and from 17.7% to 19.2%, respectively. Hazardous drinking at T1 (odds ratio [OR] = 7.0; 95% confidence interval [CI]: 3.2-15.4) and level of control (personality trait) at T1 (OR = 0.7; 95% CI: 0.6-0.9) predicted hazardous drinking at T2 among all the students. Hazardous drinking (OR = 3.5; 95% CI: 1.4-9.0), control (OR = 0.7; 95% CI: 0.6-0.9) and drinking to cope at T1 (OR = 5.0; 95% CI: 1.0-24.1) independently predicted hazardous drinking at T2 among the men, whereas the only predictor among the women was hazardous drinking at T1 (OR = 42.1; 95% CI: 8.1-218.2).


Drinking to cope should be targeted for preventive measures against hazardous drinking, particularly among men. The effects of personality and drinking to cope differ by gender and should be studied further.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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