Brief report: marital status and alcohol consumption behaviours
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First published online: January 2011
Introduction and aims: Divorced people have been found to be more likely to consume alcohol at higher levels than those who are married, with the association varying somewhat by country. However,the effect that remaining unmarried has on alcohol consumption is less clear. This study investigated the association between marital status and alcohol consumption among young and middle-aged Australian adults. Methods: Using a cross-sectional study design, the association between marital status and alcohol consumption behaviour was assessed using data from the Australian 2007 National Drug Strategy Household Survey. Results: Young and middle-aged people who were never married, divorced or separated were more likely to consume alcohol at levels associated with increased risk for both long-term and short-term harm when compared to married people. Discussion: It may be possible that mental health status is one of the factors mediating the association between marital status and alcohol consumption. Conclusions: Being never married, divorced or separated was a strong indicator of hazardous alcohol consumption behaviours. The marital status of young and middle-aged people might serve as a useful screening tool for health professionals wishing to identify patients at elevated risk of alcohol-related problems.
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