Objectives.  A number of papers have investigated whether there is an association between handedness and alcohol consumption hypothesizing that alcoholism may be a consequence of atypical cerebral lateralization or a response to the stress involved in being a minority in a right-handed world. Research to date has mostly used small clinical samples, some without a comparison group. This paper exams this issue using a large population-based random sample.

Design.  A large multi-country data set of nationally representative samples of the non-institutional population aged 50 years and older from 12 European countries was used (N= 27,428).

Methods.  Logistic regression was used to model the frequency with which individuals self-report the frequency of alcohol consumption. A series of models with differing numbers of potential confounders are estimated. The predictors of frequent and infrequent drinking are investigated separately.

Results.  After controlling for a number of confounders it is shown that left-handers do drink more often. However, this is due to them being less likely to drink rarely (less than once a month) or not at all.

Conclusions.  The evidence suggests that while there is an association between left-handedness and frequency of alcohol consumption there is no reason to believe that it is associated with excessive alcohol consumption or risky drinking.