Background: To define whether the Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Test (AUDIT) scores of primary care physicians themselves predict their willingness to use brief alcohol intervention.
Methods: Cross-sectional self-administered questionnaire survey to all 3193 physicians providing primary health care in Finland. The response rate was 1909 (59.8%). Odds ratios from multinomial regression analysis were calculated for self-reported frequency (never, occasionally or regularly) of conducting brief interventions by physicians with AUDIT scores of 0-1, 2, 3, 4, 5-7 or >or=8.
Results: The prevalence of heavy drinkers based on AUDIT score (>or=8) was 14.5% among all physicians, 7.0% among females and 27.0% among males. Of the respondents 9.4% reported doing brief intervention regularly and 50.0% occasionally. AUDIT scores did not significantly predict either regular or occasional use of brief intervention. Instead, some other independent predictors for more frequent use of brief intervention were found. These included having a specialist licence in general practice or occupational health care and the location of the practice, but not gender or age.
Conclusions: The present results indicate that in general heavy drinking among primary care physicians do not explain the low frequency with which brief intervention is used in primary health care.