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      How Well Do Survey Studies Capture Alcohol’s Harm to Others?

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          Abstract

          Empirical studies assessing alcohol’s harm to others very often rely on population survey data. This study addresses some of the problems and challenges in using survey data for this purpose. Such problems include the limited capacity of population surveys in identifying infrequent harm and long-term consequences of drinking. Moreover, the drinker may report the alcohol-related harm or the person being harmed may report the damage. However, irrespective of who reports the harm, causal attribution to drinking is problematic. Challenges for future population surveys to address alcohol’s harm to others include the need for improved models and understanding of complex mechanisms to guide empirical studies within the broad range of harm. Study designs other than cross-sectional surveys, such as longitudinal study designs and combinations of population surveys and other data sources, are likely to overcome some of the identified problems in current population surveys of alcohol’s harm to others.

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          Most cited references 47

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          Health and behavioral consequences of binge drinking in college. A national survey of students at 140 campuses.

          To examine the extent of binge drinking by college students and the ensuing health and behavioral problems that binge drinkers create for themselves and others on their campus. Self-administered survey mailed to a national representative sample of US 4-year college students. One hundred forty US 4-year colleges in 1993. A total of 17,592 college students. Self-reports of drinking behavior, alcohol-related health problems, and other problems. Almost half (44%) of college students responding to the survey were binge drinkers, including almost one fifth (19%) of the students who were frequent binge drinkers. Frequent binge drinkers are more likely to experience serious health and other consequences of their drinking behavior than other students. Almost half (47%) of the frequent binge drinkers experienced five or more different drinking-related problems, including injuries and engaging in unplanned sex, since the beginning of the school year. Most binge drinkers do not consider themselves to be problem drinkers and have not sought treatment for an alcohol problem. Binge drinkers create problems for classmates who are not binge drinkers. Students who are not binge drinkers at schools with higher binge rates were more likely than students at schools with lower binge rates to experience problems such as being pushed, hit, or assaulted or experiencing an unwanted sexual advance. Binge drinking is widespread on college campuses. Programs aimed at reducing this problem should focus on frequent binge drinkers, refer them to treatment or educational programs, and emphasize the harm they cause for students who are not binge drinkers.
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            The Risks Associated With Alcohol Use and Alcoholism

             Jürgen Rehm (2011)
            Alcohol consumption, particularly heavier drinking, is an important risk factor for many health problems and, thus, is a major contributor to the global burden of disease. In fact, alcohol is a necessary underlying cause for more than 30 conditions and a contributing factor to many more. The most common disease categories that are entirely or partly caused by alcohol consumption include infectious diseases, cancer, diabetes, neuropsychiatric diseases (including alcohol use disorders), cardiovascular disease, liver and pancreas disease, and unintentional and intentional injury. Knowledge of these disease risks has helped in the development of low-risk drinking guidelines. In addition to these disease risks that affect the drinker, alcohol consumption also can affect the health of others and cause social harm both to the drinker and to others, adding to the overall cost associated with alcohol consumption. These findings underscore the need to develop effective prevention efforts to reduce the pain and suffering, and the associated costs, resulting from excessive alcohol use.
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              Risk factors for adverse life outcomes in fetal alcohol syndrome and fetal alcohol effects.

              Clinical descriptions of patients with Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS) and Fetal Alcohol Effects (FAE) suggest major problems with adaptive behavior. Five operationally defined adverse outcomes and 18 associated risk/protective factors were examined using a Life History Interview with knowledgeable informants of 415 patients with FAS or FAE (median age 14 years, range 6-51; median IQ 86, range 29-126). Eighty percent of these patients were not raised by their biological mothers. For adolescents and adults, the life span prevalence was 61% for Disrupted School Experiences, 60% for Trouble with the Law, 50% for Confinement (in detention, jail, prison, or a psychiatric or alcohol/drug inpatient setting), 49% for Inappropriate Sexual Behaviors on repeated occasions, and 35% for Alcohol/Drug Problems. The odds of escaping these adverse life outcomes are increased 2- to 4-fold by receiving the diagnosis of FAS or FAE at an earlier age and by being reared in good stable environments. Copyright 2004 Lippincott Williams and Wilkins, Inc.
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                Author and article information

                Journal
                Subst Abuse
                Subst Abuse
                Substance Abuse: Research and Treatment
                Substance Abuse: Research and Treatment
                Libertas Academica
                1178-2218
                2015
                20 January 2016
                : 9
                : Suppl 2
                : 99-106
                Affiliations
                Norwegian Institute for Alcohol and Drug Research, Oslo, Norway.
                Author notes
                CORRESPONDENCE: ir@ 123456sirus.no
                Article
                sart-suppl.2-2015-099
                10.4137/SART.S23503
                4721679
                © 2015 the author(s), publisher and licensee Libertas Academica Ltd.

                This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons CC-BY-NC 3.0 License.

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