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Alcohol Clin Exp Res. 2008 Sep;32(9):1615-22. doi: 10.1111/j.1530-0277.2008.00740.x. Epub 2008 Jul 8.

Hazardous drinking: prevalence and associations in the Finnish general population.

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Department of Mental Health and Alcohol Research, National Public Health Institute, Helsinki, Finland.



Hazardous drinking, defined as consuming alcohol on a risky level and not meeting the diagnostic criteria of alcohol use disorders (AUDs), has been suggested for a new complementary nondependence diagnosis. This study aimed to investigate the prevalence and associations of hazardous drinking in comparison to AUDs, moderate drinking, and abstinence.


A national representative sample of Finns was examined in the Health 2000 Survey. For 4477 subjects aged 30 to 64 years (76%, 2341 females), both the quantity frequency data about alcohol consumption and Composite International Diagnostic Interview (CIDI) data concerning AUD diagnoses were available. The nationally recommended limits for hazardous dinking were used (males: 24 drinks, females: 16 drinks/wk). Logistic regression models were used to analyze associations.


The prevalence of hazardous drinking was 5.8%. Hazardous drinking was more prevalent among males than females (8.5% vs. 3.1%). It was most prevalent among the subjects aged 40 to 49 years (7.3%), divorced or separated (8.3%), unemployed (8.2%) and subjects living in the southern (Helsinki) region (7.5%). AUDs versus hazardous drinking were more likely to be in males versus females and in the unemployed versus employed. Subjects aged 40 and over had higher odds for hazardous drinking versus AUDs. The odds for hazardous versus moderate drinking were higher for males versus females (adjusted odds ratio = 3.24), for subjects aged over 40 years, unemployed versus employed and cohabiting, divorced/separated or unmarried subjects versus married subjects.


The high prevalence of hazardous drinking makes it an important public health concern. Hazardous drinkers have different sociodemographic characteristics as compared to people in other alcohol use categories.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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