The relationship between alcohol consumption patterns and injury


  • Roberta McLeod,

  • Tim Stockwell,

  • Margaret Stevens,

  • Mike Phillips


Aims and design. A case-control design was employed to quantify the risk of injury after the recent consumption of alcohol. Participants and setting. A total of 797 cases and 797 controls were interviewed throughout 1997. A response rate of 82% was calculated for eligible cases who were approached by an interviewer. The rate for interviews conducted of all people presenting with an injury during the study period was 67%. Cases were injured patients from a hospital emergency unit. Controls were matched on suburb and were interviewed at home regarding activities leading up to the time of their matched case's injury. Measurement. Cases and controls were questioned about the injury event and alcohol and other drug use consumed in the 6 hours prior to the injury. They were also breath-tested and medical records were checked for validation purposes. Findings. Logistic regression analysis produced an odds ratio of 3.4 (95% CI: 1.8-6.4) for the risk of sustaining an injury after consuming more than 60 g of alcohol in a 6-hour period, after controlling for demographic variables. The risk of injury at different levels of alcohol use was substantially higher for females with a significant odds ration of 9.6 at greater than 60 g of alcohol compared to 2.1 for men. Conclusions. These results need to be interpreted cautiously, but provide additional support that the risk of injury increases with the quantity of alcohol consumed and that the risk of injury is significantly higher for women.