High intensity drinking : prevalence and correlates in a community-based sample of Australian adults
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Many adult drinkers consume far beyond the established binge threshold (i.e., 4/5+ drinks for women and men, respectively). High intensity drinking (HID), defined in two levels at two (high intensity low [HIL]) and three (high intensity high [HIH]) times the binge threshold, is associated with more frequent and severe drinking-related consequences. This study examined the prevalence of past year HID in a sample of adult drinkers, as well as the relative associations of demographic characteristics, Big Five personality traits, family history of alcohol problems, childhood externalizing disorders, perceived peer drinking, and drinking-related consequences with binge drinking versus HID. Sex differences were also examined. Prevalence of past year HIL and HIH were both 22%, with men disproportionally represented in these categories. Quantity and frequency measures of alcohol use differentiated HIL and HIH from the binge group. Being male, younger, less educated, and unmarried were associated with HID; high extraversion and low agreeableness and conscientiousness, twin and current partner history of alcohol problems, and ADHD and conduct disorder were all associated with higher odds of HIH specifically; few effects emerged for HIL compared to binge. Perceiving a higher proportion of heavy drinking friends significantly increased odds of each successive drinking level. Rates of alcohol-related consequences were significantly higher in each successive drinking group. Sex differences emerged in the associations of income, marital status, openness to experience, conscientiousness, male friend drinking, and alcohol use disorder with HID. HID is a novel construct, but a prevalent behavior that warrants further empirical attention and more specified methodological approaches.
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