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Addiction. 1998 Jul;93(7):1065-77.

DSM-IV alcohol disorders in a general population sample of adolescents and young adults.

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Max-Planck Institute for Psychiatry, Clinical Psychology and Epidemiology, Munich, Germany.


AIMS/DESIGNS: As part of the Early Developmental Stages of Psychopathology (EDSP) study, results from the baseline cross-sectional assessment of DSM-IV alcohol disorders are presented for a sample of 14-24-year-olds residents in Munich, Germany (N = 3021; 71% response rate).


Life-time prevalence of DSM-IV alcohol abuse (men: 15.1%; women; 4.5%) was found to be considerably more prevalent than dependence (men: 10.0%; women 2.5%) with few cases among respondents younger than 16 years of age; 12-month prevalence of abuse was 8.4% among men and 2.7% among women and of dependence was 7.3% among men and 2.2% among women. Results show that peak incidence of alcohol disorders occurs at 16-17 years of age and that early initiation into alcohol use is associated with an increasing odds of disorder onset, especially for dependence among women. Exploratory analysis of retrospectively assessed diagnostic stability show: a temporal progression to abuse and then dependence, that nearly half of past abuse diagnoses are in remission, abuse remission is more common than progression to dependence, and dependence is highly persistent, especially among women.


Alcohol disorders are frequent in adolescent and young adults being characterized by transient abuse and less prevalent but persistent dependence syndromes. The relatively high prevalence of dependence diagnoses in this young population wit few years of alcohol use is discussed with regard to the clinical validity of DSM-IV criteria in adolescents and young adults.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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