Risk Factors Measured During Medical School for Later Hazardous Drinking: A 10-year, Longitudinal, Nationwide Study (NORDOC)

Alcohol Alcohol. 2016 Jan;51(1):71-6. doi: 10.1093/alcalc/agv059. Epub 2015 Jun 3.


Aims: To investigate the prevalence and temporal patterns of hazardous drinking and risk factors during medical school for future hazardous drinking among doctors.

Methods: Two cohorts of graduating medical students (N = 1052) from all four Norwegian universities (NORDOC) were surveyed in their final year of medical school training (1993/94 and 1999) (T1) and again 4 (T2) and 10 (T3) years later. Longitudinally, 53% (562/1052) of the sample responded at all three time points. Hazardous drinking was defined as drinking five or more drinks during one session at least 2-3 times per month. Predictors of hazardous drinking, identified by logistic regression models after controlling for cohort, included a parental history of alcohol problems, having children, no religious activity, use of alcohol to cope with tension and some personality traits.

Results: There was a significant decline in the prevalence of hazardous drinking from T1 (14%) to T2 (10%) but not from T2 to T3 (8%). Approximately 23% of hazardous drinkers at T1 remained hazardous drinkers at T3 (N = 18). At T2, significant adjusted predictors included male gender (OR = 2.0, P = 0.04), use of alcohol as a coping strategy (OR = 2.2, P = 0.03) and hazardous drinking at T1 (OR = 9.8, P < 0.001). The significant adjusted predictors at T3 included older age (OR = 1.1, P = 0.01), male gender (OR = 3.6, P = 0.002) and hazardous drinking at T1 (OR = 7.5, P < 0.001).

Conclusions: Hazardous drinking and drinking to cope with tension during medical school were the most important predictors of later hazardous drinking and should be targets of preventive efforts in medical schools.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Psychological
  • Adult
  • Alcohol Drinking / epidemiology*
  • Alcohol-Related Disorders / epidemiology
  • Binge Drinking / epidemiology*
  • Cohort Studies
  • Family Characteristics
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Logistic Models
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Motivation
  • Norway / epidemiology
  • Parents
  • Personality
  • Physicians / statistics & numerical data*
  • Prevalence
  • Prospective Studies
  • Religion
  • Risk Factors
  • Sex Factors
  • Students, Medical / statistics & numerical data*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Young Adult