Format

Send to

Choose Destination
Am J Epidemiol. 2008 Oct 15;168(8):866-71. doi: 10.1093/aje/kwn093. Epub 2008 Aug 12.

Are lifetime abstainers the best control group in alcohol epidemiology? On the stability and validity of reported lifetime abstention.

Author information

1
Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, 33 Russell Street, Room 2035, Toronto, Ontario M5S2S1, Canada. jtrehm@aol.com

Abstract

Lifetime abstainers have often been recommended as the comparison group in alcohol epidemiology. The objective of this study was to provide insight into the validity and stability of lifetime abstention by using data derived from the National Alcohol Survey, a national probability survey of US households conducted in 1984, and its 2 follow-up surveys conducted in 1990 and 1992. Results indicated that more than half (52.9%; all proportions were weighted to represent the US population) of those who reported never having a drink of any alcoholic beverage in the 1992 survey reported drinking in previous surveys. Depending on assumptions, this difference may result in an underestimation of alcohol-attributable mortality of 2%-15% in men and 2%-22% in women. Sociodemographic factors differentiated those who consistently reported lifetime abstention across surveys from the rest of the study population. Results suggest that using reported lifetime abstainers as a sole comparison group is problematic, especially if reporting is based on 1 measurement only. Establishing multiple measurement points and including irregular lifetime light drinkers with lifetime abstainers as the comparison group are recommended for future epidemiologic studies.

PMID:
18701442
PMCID:
PMC2565735
DOI:
10.1093/aje/kwn093
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Silverchair Information Systems Icon for PubMed Central
Loading ...
Support Center