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People born after World War II are more likely to binge drink and develop alcohol disorders
Date:9/16/2011

September 15, 2011 --. In a review of 31 peer-reviewed and published studies, researchers at Columbia University's Mailman School of Public Health looked generational and gender differences in alcohol consumption, alcohol disorders, and mortality. Findings indicate that people born after World War II are more likely to binge drink and develop alcohol use disorders. Researchers also found that the gender gap in alcoholism and problem drinking is narrowing in many countries.

Findings will be published in the December 2011 issue of Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research and are currently available at Early View.

"The literature on alcohol consumption indicates that younger birth cohorts, especially women, are increasingly at risk for the development of alcohol use disorders," said Katherine M. Keyes, PhD, a post-doctoral fellow in the Department of Epidemiology at the Mailman School and first author of the study. "Given that alcoholism among women is increasing, there is a need for specific public health prevention and intervention efforts. Further, results suggest the environment increases the risk for alcoholism. While genetics play a substantial role, the generational differences between those born before and after World War II indicate that factors in the environment such as policies, laws, social norms, availability, and broader social context also contribute substantially to the underlying risk for alcohol use disorders in the population."

Although younger birth cohorts in North America, especially those born after World War II, are more likely than other cohorts to engage in heavy episodic drinking and develop alcoholism and/or binge drinking, this effect was not found in Australia and Western Europe. The investigators note that the U.S. differs from Europe and Australia in that we have a fairly large number of people who do not drink at all, although over time, the number of non-drinkers in the U.S. decreasing
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Contact: Stephanie Berger
sb2247@columbia.edu
212-305-4372
Columbia University's Mailman School of Public Health
Source:Eurekalert

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