DSM-IV alcohol dependence and drinking in the U.S. Population: A risk analysis

Raul Caetano, Tammy Tam, Tom Greenfield, Cheryl Cherpitel, Lorraine Midanik

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

74 Scopus citations


PURPOSE: This paper examines the relationship between alcohol dependence according to the criteria found in the 4th edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM-IV) of the American Psychiatric Association and drinking in the U.S. general population. METHODS: The data set under analysis is the 1988 National Health Interview Survey, which interviewed a probability sample of 22,102 adult drinkers in the U.S. household population. The response rate was 86%. RESULTS: Results indicate that there is a linear relationship between DSM-IV dependence and the mean number of drinks consumed per day, or the number of days drinking five or more glasses of alcohol in the past 12 months. Respondents who reported consuming five or more drinks in a day have about six times more chances of being dependent than respondents who did not report such pattern of drinking. Older drinkers are legs at risk than younger drinkers. CONCLUSIONS: There is a risk of alcohol dependence at relatively low volumes of consumption. The risk increases gradually with the volume of consumption. An added and higher risk exists when drinkers engage in a pattern of consumption involving the ingestion of five or more drinks per day.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)542-549
Number of pages8
JournalAnnals of Epidemiology
Issue number8
StatePublished - Nov 1997


  • Alcohol Dependence
  • Drinking
  • General Population
  • Risk

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Epidemiology


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