Hazardous Alcohol Use Among Hospital Doctors in Germany

Alcohol Alcohol. Mar-Apr 2008;43(2):198-203. doi: 10.1093/alcalc/agm180. Epub 2008 Jan 21.


Aims: To describe alcohol use, and the prevalence and predictors of hazardous drinking, among hospital doctors.

Methods: Data were collected by anonymous mail survey in 2006, from a representative national sample of 1917 (58% response rate) hospital doctors in Germany. Alcohol use was measured using the AUDIT-C, scores of 5 or more for males and females indicating "hazardous drinking."

Results: There were 9.5% abstainers, 70.7% moderate drinkers, and 19.8% hazardous drinkers. The majority of doctors (90.5%) used alcohol--mainly at a sensible level, e.g., 2-4 times a month (32%) or 2-3 times a week (29%), and 1-2 glasses on one occasion (83%). Binge drinking was common (53%), but for most occurred less than once in a month (39%). When hazardous drinking was controlled for certain confounders, being male (OR 4.7; 95% CI 3.4-6.5) and having a surgical specialty (OR 1.4; 1.1-1.8) were significantly correlated to hazardous drinking. Age had no influence on this model. By contrast, the age group 40 years and younger (OR 2.1; 1.4-3.0) was a significant predictor of abstinence.

Conclusions: There is a higher rate of abstainers and a lower rate of binge drinkers among hospital doctors in Germany than in the general population. However, some hospital doctors drink hazardously, the risk being greater among males and among surgeons, which should be paid due attention in the interest of their health and their function as doctors.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Alcohol Drinking / epidemiology*
  • Ethanol / adverse effects*
  • Female
  • Germany / epidemiology
  • Health Surveys
  • Hospitals / trends
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Medical Staff, Hospital* / trends
  • Middle Aged
  • Physicians* / trends


  • Ethanol