Risk functions for alcohol-related problems in a 1988 US national sample

Lorraine T. Midanik, Tammy W. Tam, Thomas K. Greenfield, Raul Caetano

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

163 Scopus citations


To assess the relationship of alcohol use and three types of alcohol-related problems (ICD-10 dependence syndrome, work problems and drunk driving), risk curves were developed for average number of drinks per day during last year (volume) and number of days drinking five or more drinks during one day (5+). Using data from the 1988 National Health Interview Alcohol Supplement, risk curves were derived from data on 22,102 current drinkers who consumed at least 12 drinks in the last year. The emphasis in this analysis was on the proportion of drinkers at lower levels reporting different types of problems. The results indicate that even at lower levels of drinking (volume averaging one or fewer drinks/day) there is considerable risk for drunk driving and less risk for work problems and alcohol dependence. The risk for all types of problems at lower and moderate levels of drinking was significantly higher for respondents who had five or more drinks during one day in the last year. These findings underscore the importance of examining risk (physical and social) at lower levels of drinking and for using both overall volume and heavier quantity per occasion drinking measures when assessing risk for any alcohol-related problem.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1427-1437
Number of pages11
Issue number10
StatePublished - 1996

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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