Deakin University

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Decreasing prevalence of social drinkers in Australia

journal contribution
posted on 2017-04-01, 00:00 authored by Sarah Callinan, A Pennay, Michael Livingston
Introduction There has been a recent decrease in population level alcohol consumption in Australia, particularly in young people. Whether this is due to increasing abstinence or a shift in the way people think about alcohol is not known. The aim of this study is to investigate trends in self-identification of drinker types in Australia from 2001 to 2013 in light of shifting patterns of alcohol consumption in Australia. Methods Five waves of the National Drug Strategy Household Survey from 2001 to 2013 (N = 118,416) were used to assess trends in self-identification as a drinker type (non-, ex-, occasional, light, social, heavy and binge drinker). Consumption patterns and demographics of the self-identified groups were also examined. Results The pattern of self-identification has mostly remained steady over time. The two exceptions to this are a decrease in identification as a social drinker (28% to 22%) and a corresponding increase in identification as a non-drinker (from 19% to 27%). There are few changes over time in the demographic make-up of, or consumption patterns in, the social drinker category with the exception of those over 50, who continue to identify as social drinkers at the same rate. Conclusion The recent increase in abstinence in Australia seems to be matched by a corresponding decrease in self-identified social drinkers, particularly among those under 50. This indicates that the decrease in consumption is not occurring in those most likely to experience harms.



Addictive Behaviors




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