Depressive symptoms and alcohol correlates among Brazilians aged 14 years and older: A cross-sectional study

Cassiano L S Coelho, Ronaldo R. Laranjeira, Jair L F Santos, Ilana Pinsky, Marcos Zaleski, Raul Caetano, José Alexandre S Crippa

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Background: The associations between depressive symptoms and alcohol-related disorders, drinking patterns and other characteristics of alcohol use are important public health issues worldwide. This study aims to study these associations in an upper middle-income country, Brazil, and search for related socio-demographic correlations in men and women.Methods: A cross-sectional study was conducted between November 2005 and April 2006. The sample of 3,007 participants, selected using a multistage probabilistic sampling method, represents the Brazilian population aged 14 and older. Depressive symptoms were assessed using the Center for Epidemiologic Studies Depression Scale and alcohol dependence was assessed using the Composite International Diagnostic Interview. Associations assessed using bi-variate analysis were tested using Rao-Scott measures. Gender specific multinomial logistic regression models were developed.Results: Among the participants with alcohol dependence, 46% had depressive symptoms (17.2% mild/moderate and 28.8% major/severe; p < 0.01); 35.8% (p = 0.08) of those with alcohol abuse and 23.9% (p < 0.01) of those with a binge-drinking pattern also had depressive symptoms. Alcohol abstainers and infrequent drinkers had the highest prevalence of major/severe depressive symptoms, whereas frequent heavy drinkers had the lowest prevalence of major/severe depressive symptoms. In women, alcohol dependence and the presence of one or more problems related to alcohol consumption were associated with higher risks of major/severe depressive symptoms. Among men, alcohol dependence and being ≥45 years old were associated with higher risks of major/severe depressive symptoms.Conclusions: In Brazil, the prevalence of depressive symptoms is strongly related to alcohol dependence; the strongest association was between major/severe depressive symptoms and alcohol dependence in women. This survey supports the possible association of biopsychosocial distress, alcohol consumption and the prevalence of depressive symptoms in Brazil. Investing in education, social programs, and care for those with alcohol dependence and major/severe depressive symptoms, especially for such women, and the development of alcohol prevention policies may be components of a strategic plan to reduce the prevalence of depression and alcohol problems in Brazil. Such a plan may also promote the socio-economic development of Brazil and other middle-income countries.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number29
JournalSubstance Abuse: Treatment, Prevention, and Policy
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jul 15 2014


  • Alcohol dependence
  • Comorbidity
  • Depressive symptoms
  • Epidemiology
  • Survey

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health Policy
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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