Purpose: Research shows conflicting findings for prevalence of alcohol use, binge drinking, and heavy drinking between veteran males and females, and as compared to civilians. The purpose of this study was to assess whether alcohol use, binge drinking, and heavy drinking differ by veteran and gender status in adults ages 25 and older in the general population. Methods: This cross-sectional analysis used 2015 data from the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS) for males and females ages 25 and older in Alaska, Maine, Montana, Oregon, and South Carolina. Separate multiple logistic regression analyses by state were used to assess patterns in relationships between alcohol outcomes and veteran and gender status while controlling for demographic factors, depression, and tobacco use. Results: About half of male and female adults 25 and older reported alcohol use, and few reported binge drinking or heavy drinking. Across all states, both veteran and non-veteran males reported more alcohol use and binge drinking than female non-veterans. In addition, binge drinking and heavy drinking showed moderate to high relations to smoking in all 5 states. Conclusion: The results of adjusted analyses indicated that in all five states, alcohol use and binge drinking differed significantly by veteran and gender status. In addition, binge drinking and heavy drinking were significantly related to smoking in all 5 states. For adults ages 25 years and older in a primary care setting, providers may expect a moderate prevalence of alcohol use, and low prevalences of binge drinking, heavy drinking, and smoking. Standard of care is to automatically screen for alcohol use and tobacco use in all patients. However, if signs of either alcohol misuse or smoking are present, especially among males, providers should consider screening for alcohol misuse.
Goodell HE, Van Noy AE, Zarker KM, Kotulek SR, Diver TE and Hartos JL
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