At-risk drinking in an HMO primary care sample: prevalence and health policy implications

Am J Public Health. 1998 Jan;88(1):90-3. doi: 10.2105/ajph.88.1.90.


Objectives: This study was designed to determine the prevalence of at-risk drinking using varying alcohol use criteria.

Methods: A period prevalence survey was conducted in 22 primary care practices (n = 19372 adults).

Results: The frequency of at-risk alcohol use varied from 7.5% (World Health Organization criteria) to 19.7% (National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism criteria). A stepwise logistic model using National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism criteria found male gender, current tobacco use, never married status, retirement, and unemployment to be significant predictors of at-risk alcohol use.

Conclusions: Public health policy needs to move to a primary care paradigm focusing on identification and treatment of at-risk drinkers.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Alcoholic Intoxication / epidemiology
  • Alcoholism / epidemiology*
  • Female
  • Health Maintenance Organizations
  • Humans
  • Logistic Models
  • Male
  • Prevalence
  • Primary Health Care
  • Risk Factors
  • Smoking
  • Socioeconomic Factors
  • Wisconsin / epidemiology