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Addict Behav. 2014 Aug;39(8):1258-64. doi: 10.1016/j.addbeh.2014.04.008. Epub 2014 Apr 13.

How alike are young non-drinkers, former-drinkers, low-risk drinkers, and hazardous drinkers?

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School of Psychology, University of Sussex, Falmer BN1 9QH, United Kingdom. Electronic address:
School of Nursing and Midwifery, University of Brighton, Falmer BN1 9PH, United Kingdom.
University of Exeter Medical School, Magdalen Road, Exeter EX1 2LU, United Kingdom.
School of Psychology, University of Sussex, Falmer BN1 9QH, United Kingdom.
NHS Brighton & Hove, Prestamex House, 171-173 Preston Road, Brighton BN1 6AG, United Kingdom.
Brighton & Sussex Medical School, Falmer BN1 9PX, United Kingdom.


The aim of this study was to examine whether - in terms of personality characteristics and beliefs--former-drinkers and people who have never consumed alcohol exist on a continuum that includes low-risk drinkers and hazardous drinkers, or are distinct groups. An online questionnaire hosted on a secure server was completed by 1418 young people (642 men and 776 women) aged 16-21 living in South-East England. Participants' scores on the Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Test (AUDIT) were used to classify them as non-drinkers, former-drinkers, low-risk drinkers or hazardous drinkers. Multinomial logistic regression identified eight significant multivariate correlates that explained 39% of the variance in men's AUDIT category membership (χ(2)(24) = 263.32, p < .01), and seven significant multivariate correlates that explained 41% of the variance in women's AUDIT category membership (χ(2)(21) = 332.91, p < .01). The results suggest that non-drinkers and former-drinkers are more similar to each other than they are to both low risk and hazardous drinkers. We should not, therefore, treat these groups of young people as representing a drinking continuum. In particular, interventions for high risk young drinkers may be more effective if distinguished from general campaigns intended for all young people.


AUDIT; Alcohol; Attitude; Personality; Youth

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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