Association of alcohol use and other high-risk behaviors among trauma patients

J Trauma. 2001 Jan;50(1):13-9. doi: 10.1097/00005373-200101000-00002.


Background: Risk behaviors and psychological problems may limit recovery after trauma, may be related to injury recidivism, and may limit the effectiveness of alcohol interventions in trauma patients. The aim of the current study was to evaluate the prevalence of behaviors associated with injury and their relationship with alcohol use in adult trauma patients.

Methods: A prospective cohort of 301 adult patients admitted to a single Level I trauma center were interviewed regarding risk behaviors and alcohol use.

Results: There was evidence of acute and/or chronic alcohol use in 48.2% of cases. Over three fourths of patients (77%) engaged in one or more high-risk driving practices, 40% engaged in one or more violence-related behaviors, and 19% reported suicidal ideation in the last year. These risk behaviors were more common in patients who evidenced acute and/or chronic alcohol use.

Conclusion: Behaviors that place an individual at greater risk for traumatic injury are common among seriously injured adult patients admitted to an urban Level I trauma center and frequently coexist with alcohol use. Their importance to injury, injury recidivism, and recovery after trauma requires further investigation.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Alcohol Drinking
  • Alcohol-Related Disorders / complications*
  • Alcohol-Related Disorders / epidemiology*
  • Alcoholic Intoxication
  • Alcoholism
  • Humans
  • Prospective Studies
  • Risk Factors
  • Risk-Taking*
  • Texas
  • Wounds and Injuries / epidemiology*
  • Wounds and Injuries / etiology