Prevalence of alcohol use disorder in a South Korean community--changes in the pattern of prevalence over the past 15 years

Soc Psychiatry Psychiatr Epidemiol. 2005 Feb;40(2):114-9. doi: 10.1007/s00127-005-0854-9.


Background: This study investigated the prevalence of alcohol use disorder in a Korean community and compared the results with 1984 epidemiological data.

Method: A sample of 1,059 residents aged 18-64 years was interviewed using the Korean version of the Composite International Diagnostic Interview (K-CIDI). The results obtained were compared with those of a 1984 epidemiological study.

Results: Lifetime prevalence of alcohol use disorder was 15.6% (abuse 6.8%, dependence 8.8 %) and 1-year prevalence 7.5% (abuse 2.5%,dependence 5 %). The male-to-female ratio of life-time prevalence was 5.8,which markedly decreased with decreasing age. A cohort effect, i. e. increases of lifetime prevalence in younger cohorts, was observed, with the exception of the 60- to 64-year-old cohort. The mean age of onset was 27.7 years (male 28.2 years, female 24.2 years). When the results of the present study were compared with those of the 1984 study, it was found that, during the past 15 years, lifetime prevalence has decreased, prevalence ratios of abuse and dependence have become reversed, and the male-to-female ratio has decreased.

Conclusion: Remarkable changes in the pattern of prevalence, which have occurred between 1984 and 1999, may be attributed to significant sociocultural changes and to a decrease in the proportion of a high-risk cohort in the populations.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Age Distribution
  • Alcoholism / diagnosis
  • Alcoholism / epidemiology
  • Alcoholism / ethnology*
  • Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Korea / epidemiology
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Population Dynamics
  • Prevalence
  • Sex Distribution