Page last updated: Tuesday, March 29, 2005
Relative to moderate drinkers, abstainers and occasional drinkers are characterised by factors leading to higher levels of depression and anxiety.
The aim of this study, the Stress and Well-Being Project by Rodgers B et al,was to identify risk factors for depression and anxiety that are more prevalent among abstainers than among moderate drinkers and to estimate their contribution to the U-shaped relationships of depression and anxiety with alcohol use. In the cross-sectional population sample in Canberra, Australia, 1128 men and 1258 women aged 18-59 were analysed. Subjects aged over 60 were excluded as earlier work had failed to find a U-shaped relationship in that age group.Participants completed an anonymous questionnaire (the Australian Alcohol Use Disorder Identification Test) and four measures of negative affect were included: financial hardship, poor social support and recent stressful life events, and score lower on extroversion, fun seeking and drive. Many of these characteristics also held for hazardous/harmful drinkers (>28 drinks per week for men and >14 for women). Compared with moderate drinkers, in multivariate models, these risk factors accounted for a substantial part of the higher depression and anxiety scores in abstainers and occasional drinkers (no more than once monthly). Relative to moderate drinkers, abstainers have a range of characteristics known to be associated with anxiety, depression and other facets of ill mental health and these factors may contribute significantly to their elevated levels of depression and anxiety.

Source. Rodgers B, Korten AE, Jorm AF, Christensen H, Henderson S, Jacomb PA. Risk factors for depression and anxiety in abstainers, moderate drinkers and heavy drinkers. Addiction 95 (2000) 1833-184.

no website link
All text and images © 2003 Alcohol In Moderation.