Alcohol consumption and regular benzodiazepine use in 55-year-old female Malmö residents: results of a health screening

Acta Psychiatr Scand. 1996 Sep;94(3):141-8. doi: 10.1111/j.1600-0447.1996.tb09839.x.


The main objective of the present study was to examine the relationship between regular benzodiazepine (BZD) use and drinking patterns in 55-year-old female residents of Malmö, Sweden. All women born in 1935 (a total of 1223 subjects) were invited to a health screening at the Preventive Medicine Section, Malmö General Hospital; 69% agreed to participate. The screening included an extensive health questionnaire, and the responses to 33 items assessing social background, including immigrant status, use of BZD and analgesics, alcohol consumption (the revised Malmö-MAST), smoking and morbidity were analysed. A psychiatric symptoms scale including five of these items was constructed, yielding a Cronbach's alpha of 0.57. Present use of BZD hypnotics and/or tranquillizers was acknowledged by 6% of the women. BZD use at any time in the past or present was endorsed by 23%. Endorsement of > or = 3 revised Malmö-MAST items, indicating problem drinking, occurred in 3% of the participants; 16% were teetotallers and about 25% were regular weekend drinkers. BZD use was significantly more likely to occur in women with the following characteristics: early retirement, pain symptoms, longstanding use of analgesics, multiple psychiatric symptoms. Drinking patterns in relation to BZD use indicated that regular weekend drinkers were significantly less likely to be current and/or previous BZD users than problem drinkers and teetotallers. Logistic regression analyses indicated that use of BZDs was mainly predicted by endorsement of multiple psychiatric symptoms.

MeSH terms

  • Alcohol Drinking / epidemiology*
  • Alcoholism / epidemiology*
  • Anti-Anxiety Agents*
  • Benzodiazepines
  • Comorbidity
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Health Status
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Mass Screening*
  • Mental Disorders / epidemiology
  • Middle Aged
  • Substance-Related Disorders / epidemiology*
  • Sweden / epidemiology
  • Urban Population / statistics & numerical data*


  • Anti-Anxiety Agents
  • Benzodiazepines