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Alcohol Alcohol. 2013 May-Jun;48(3):343-8. doi: 10.1093/alcalc/agt002. Epub 2013 Jan 29.

Alcohol use during the great recession of 2008-2009.

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Department of Global Health and Population, Harvard School of Public Health, 677 Huntington Avenue, Building 1, 11th Floor, Boston, MA 02115, USA.



The aim of this study was to assess changes in alcohol use in the USA during the Great Recession.


Drinking participation, drinking frequency, drinking intensity, total alcohol consumption and frequency of binge drinking were assessed in a nationally representative sample of 2,050,431 US women and men aged 18 and older, interviewed between 2006 and 2010.


The prevalence of any alcohol use significantly declined during the economic recession, from 52.0% in 2006-2007 to 51.6% in 2008-2009 (P < 0.05), corresponding to 880,000 fewer drinkers (95% confidence interval [CI] 140,000 to 1.6 million). There was an increase, however, in the prevalence of frequent binging, from 4.8% in 2006-2007 to 5.1% in 2008-2009 (P < 0.01), corresponding to 770,000 more frequent bingers (95% CI 390,000 to 1.1 million). Non-Black, unmarried men under 30 years, who recently became unemployed, were at highest risk for frequent binging.


During the Great Recession there was an increase in abstention from alcohol and a rise in frequent binging.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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