Substance use, injury, and risk-taking dispositions in the general population

Alcohol Clin Exp Res. 1999 Jan;23(1):121-6.


Alcohol consumption has been found to be associated with injury occurrence and with risk-taking dispositions, and these dispositions, themselves, have been found to be associated with injury. Few studies have analyzed both alcohol consumption and risk-taking dispositions, or illicit drug use, on risk of injury across all types of injuries. Data on risk perception, risk-taking/impulsivity, sensation seeking, alcohol and drug use, demographic characteristics, and injury in the last year are reported from the 1995 National Alcohol Survey of 4925 respondents living in households in the 48 contiguous states. Moderate drinking, alcohol treatment, drug use, simultaneous use of alcohol and drugs, and risk-taking dispositions were all positively associated with reporting an injury. In multiple logistic regression, only risk-taking dispositions maintained significance when other variables were controlled. In separate regressions by ethnicity, risk-taking dispositions were significant predictors of injury for whites, whereas none of the variables were significant for blacks or Hispanics. Data suggest that risk-taking dispositions may be more important predictors of injury than either drinking or drug use variables, but this may vary by ethnicity. Risk-taking disposition may influence the effectiveness of strategies to reduce alcohol-related injuries; future research is important, therefore, for informing intervention and prevention efforts.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Alcohol Drinking / epidemiology
  • Alcohol Drinking / psychology*
  • Female
  • Health Surveys
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Risk-Taking*
  • Substance-Related Disorders / epidemiology
  • Substance-Related Disorders / psychology*
  • United States / epidemiology
  • Wounds and Injuries / epidemiology
  • Wounds and Injuries / etiology*
  • Wounds and Injuries / psychology