Contemporary alcohol use patterns among a national sample of U.S. adult drinkers

J Addict Dis. Oct-Dec 2017;36(4):222-226. doi: 10.1080/10550887.2017.1338816. Epub 2017 Jun 8.


The aim of the current article is to identify subgroups of adult drinkers characterized by typical drinking patterns. Data from the National Epidemiologic Survey on Alcohol and Related Conditions-III were used to classify drinkers based on several indicators of drinking. Past-year drinkers aged 18-64 were included (n = 22,776). Latent class analysis revealed a 5-class model: Occasional, Light Drinkers (28%), Frequent Drinkers (25%), Infrequent Drinkers with Occasional Binging (5%), Frequent Drinkers with Occasional Binging (22%), and High-Intensity Drinkers (20%). Although most were Light Drinkers, many engaged in excessive drinking. Given the potential risk for harm, prevention efforts are warranted particularly for High-Intensity Drinkers.

Keywords: Drinking patterns; heavy episodic drinking; high-intensity drinking; intoxication; latent class analysis.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Alcohol Drinking / epidemiology*
  • Alcohol-Related Disorders / classification*
  • Alcohol-Related Disorders / epidemiology*
  • Alcoholic Intoxication / epidemiology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • United States / epidemiology
  • Young Adult