Longitudinal Patterns and Predictors of Alcohol Consumption in the United States

Am J Public Health. 2005 Mar;95(3):458-65. doi: 10.2105/AJPH.2003.019471.


Objectives: We examined demographic predictors of longitudinal patterns in alcohol consumption.

Methods: We used mixed-effects models to describe individual alcohol consumption and change in consumption with age, as well as the associations between consumption and birth year, national alcohol consumption, and demographic factors, among 14 105 adults from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey I Epidemiologic Follow-Up Study.

Results: Alcohol consumption declined with increasing age, and individual consumption mirrored national consumption. Higher consumption was associated with male gender, being White, being married, having a higher educational level, having a higher income, being employed, and being a smoker. Faster age-related decline in consumption was associated with earlier cohorts, being male, being married, having a lower educational level, and being a smoker.

Conclusions: Compared with alcohol consumption among earlier cohorts, that among recent cohorts declined more slowly with increasing age, suggesting that negative health effects of alcohol could increase in the future.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Age Distribution
  • Aged
  • Alcohol Drinking / epidemiology*
  • Alcohol Drinking / psychology
  • Cohort Effect
  • Educational Status
  • Employment / statistics & numerical data
  • European Continental Ancestry Group / psychology
  • European Continental Ancestry Group / statistics & numerical data
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Income / statistics & numerical data
  • Linear Models
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Male
  • Marital Status / statistics & numerical data
  • Middle Aged
  • Multivariate Analysis
  • Nutrition Surveys
  • Population Surveillance
  • Predictive Value of Tests
  • Risk Factors
  • Sex Distribution
  • Smoking / epidemiology
  • United States / epidemiology