Recession-Linked Losses Impact Alcohol Outcomes

(HealthDay News) – Recession-induced economic losses are associated with alcohol outcomes, according to a study published online Nov. 20 in Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research.

Nina Mulia, DrPH, MPH, from the Public Health Institute in Emeryville, CA, and colleagues utilized data from the 2009–2010 U.S. National Alcohol Survey (5,382 respondents) to estimate the correlations between economic loss and alcohol outcomes.

The researchers found that severe economic loss (defined as job or housing loss) correlated positively with negative drinking consequences and alcohol dependence, with a marginal association noted for drunkenness. There was no association observed between moderate economic loss and alcohol outcomes. Compared with unaffected women, women experiencing retirement loss, reduced hours/wages, and job loss consumed 41–70%more alcohol. The risk of drunkenness, drinking consequences, and dependence was increased for men who experienced job loss and housing problems. The risk of drunkenness and alcohol-related problems was also increased for middle-aged Americans affected by partial or complete job loss and housing problems. Compared with their unaffected peers, older adults who lost retirement savings drank 42% more alcohol. Young adult alcohol outcomes were largely unrelated to recessionary loss, except for negative drinking consequences.

“As men and middle-aged Americans were at risk for multiple, adverse alcohol outcomes, these groups may warrant special alcohol screening and intervention efforts in future macroeconomic crises,” the authors conclude.

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