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.
© The Author 2015. Medical Council on Alcohol and Oxford University Press. All rights reserved.