The relationship between patterns of alcohol use and mental and physical health disorders in two American Indian populations

Authors

  • Joan O'Connell,

    Corresponding author
    1. American Indian and Alaska Native Programs, Department of Psychiatry, University of Colorado Health Sciences Center, Aurora, CO
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  • Douglas K. Novins,

    1. American Indian and Alaska Native Programs, Department of Psychiatry, University of Colorado Health Sciences Center, Aurora, CO
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  • Janette Beals,

    1. American Indian and Alaska Native Programs, Department of Psychiatry, University of Colorado Health Sciences Center, Aurora, CO
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  • Calvin Croy,

    1. American Indian and Alaska Native Programs, Department of Psychiatry, University of Colorado Health Sciences Center, Aurora, CO
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  • Anna E. Barón,

    1. American Indian and Alaska Native Programs, Department of Psychiatry, University of Colorado Health Sciences Center, Aurora, CO
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  • Paul Spicer,

    1. American Indian and Alaska Native Programs, Department of Psychiatry, University of Colorado Health Sciences Center, Aurora, CO
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  • Dedra Buchwald,

    1. Department of Medicine, University of Washington, Seattle, WA, USA
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  • the American Indian Service Utilization, Psychiatric Epidemiology, Risk and Protective Factors Project Team

    1. American Indian and Alaska Native Programs, Department of Psychiatry, University of Colorado Health Sciences Center, Aurora, CO
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Joan O’Connell, American Indian and Alaska Native Programs, MS F800, PO Box 6508, Aurora, CO 80045–0508, USA. E-mail: Joan.OConnell@uchsc.edu

ABSTRACT

Aims  First, define alcohol use categories among two reservation-based American Indian (AI) populations based on the relationship between alcohol consumption and dependence. Secondly, examine associations between the alcohol use categories and other indicators of health status.

Design, participants and measurements  Epidemiological data on 1287 AIs aged 18–57 years who consumed alcohol during the past year. CHAID tree analysis, a hierarchical partitioning method, was used to analyze alcohol quantity (highest number of drinks consumed during 1 day) and frequency (number of days drank during the past month) data to define quantity–frequency categories distinguished by differing rates of alcohol dependence. Multivariate analyses assessed relationships between the alcohol use categories thus identified and a number of health outcomes.

Findings  People who reported drinking 12 or more drinks during 1 day and more than 4 days a month had the highest prevalence of alcohol dependence. Among the males who drank > 18 drinks the prevalence was 42.12% and among females who drank 12 or more drinks, 44.58%. The prevalence among males who drank > 18 drinks yet drank less frequently was also high (24.06%). Although findings differed by gender, drinkers in the highest risk category for alcohol dependence were most likely to report drug use disorders, mood/anxiety disorders, alcohol-related physical disorders and lower quality of life.

Conclusions  The quantity thresholds defined to identify AIs at highest risk for alcohol dependence in this study differed by gender and were higher than typically reported for non-AIs. They are consistent with previous findings regarding the pattern of high-quantity, low-frequency alcohol consumption among AIs residing on reservations.

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