Background: National population data on risk of alcohol-related injury or driving while intoxicated (DWI) are scarce.
Objective: The association of alcohol-related injury and perceived DWI (PDWI) with both volume and pattern of consumption are examined in a merged sample of respondents from the 2000 and 2005 National Alcohol Surveys using risk function analysis.
Methods: Self-reported consumption patterns on 8,736 respondents who consumed at least one drink in the last 12 months were assessed as the average daily volume and frequency of consuming 5 or more (5+), 8 or more (8+), and 12 or more (12+) drinks in a day. Risks were defined using CHAID segmentation analysis implemented with SPSS Answer Tree.
Results: For alcohol-related injury (n = 110), those most at risk drank at lower volumes with some high maximum occasions, or at higher volumes, where high maximum occasions had little added effect. Risk was highest for those reporting more than 6 drinks per day (9.7%). For PDWI (n = 696), those most at risk drank at higher volumes and with a greater number of high maximum occasions. Risk was highest for those reporting more than 6 drinks per day and more than one 8+ occasion during the last year (39%).
Conclusions: Overall risk appears to increase with increasing volume, but at a given volume level, risk also increases with frequency of high maximum occasions. These data lend relatively weak support for previous findings suggesting that less frequent drinkers who only occasionally consume larger quantities may be at greater risk, and any alcohol consumption appears to carry some risk of these harms.