Alcohol consumption, problem drinking, abstention and disability pension award. The Nord-Trøndelag Health Study (HUNT)
Article first published online: 21 SEP 2011
© 2011 The Authors, Addiction © 2011 Society for the Study of Addiction
Volume 107, Issue 1, pages 98–108, January 2012
How to Cite
Skogen, J. C., Knudsen, A. K., Mykletun, A., Nesvåg, S. and Øverland, S. (2012), Alcohol consumption, problem drinking, abstention and disability pension award. The Nord-Trøndelag Health Study (HUNT). Addiction, 107: 98–108. doi: 10.1111/j.1360-0443.2011.03551.x
- Issue published online: 12 DEC 2011
- Article first published online: 21 SEP 2011
- Accepted manuscript online: 24 JUN 2011 06:39AM EST
- Submitted 6 July 2010; initial review completed 4 October 2010; final version accepted 17 June 2011
- alcohol consumption;
- alcohol problems;
- disability pension;
- problem drinking
Aims To examine associations of abstention, alcohol consumption and problem drinking with subsequent disability pensioning (DP), and whether previous excessive consumption (‘sick-quitting’) could explain some of the increased risk for DP among abstainers.
Design Prospective population-based study.
Setting and participants Data were from two waves of the Nord-Trøndelag Health Study (HUNT) linked with the national insurance database. The two main analyses included 37 729 (alcohol consumption) and 34 666 (problem drinking) participants.
Measurements Alcohol consumption was measured by self-reported consumption, while problem drinking was assessed by the Cut down, Annoyed, Guilt, Eye-opener (CAGE) questionnaire. Information on subsequent DP, including diagnosis for which the DP was awarded, was gathered from the national insurance database. Covariates included somatic illness and symptoms, mental health, health-related behaviour, socio-economic status and social activity.
Findings Those reporting the highest level of alcohol consumption were not at increased risk for DP [hazard ratio (HR) 1.12, 95% confidence interval (CI): 0.92–1.38], whereas problem drinking was a strong predictor (HR 2.79, 95% CI: 2.08–3.75) compared to their corresponding reference groups. Alcohol abstainers were also at increased risk for DP, but among them, the previous consumers (HR 1.95, 95% CI: 1.48–2.57) and previous excessive consumers (HR 1.67, 95% CI: 1.01–2.74) were at higher risk for DP than constant abstainers.
Conclusions Problem drinking is linked to subsequent requirement for a disability pension but mere alcohol consumption is not. This is partly explained by ‘sick-quitting’.