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Journal Article

Citation

Smith GW, Shevlin M, Murphy RX, Houston JE. Alcohol Alcohol. 2010; 45(6): 563-572.

Affiliation

Division of Psychology, Nottingham Trent University, Burton Street, Nottingham NG1 4BU, UK.

Copyright

(Copyright © 2010, Oxford University Press)

DOI

10.1093/alcalc/agq052

PMID

20876219

Abstract

Aims To identify population-based clinical and demographic correlates of alcohol use dimensions. Methods Using data from a population-based sample of Great Britain (n = 7849), structural equation modelling (SEM) was used to identify associations between demographic and clinical variables and two competing dimensional models of the Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Test (AUDIT). Results A two-factor SEM fit best. In this model, Factor 1, alcohol consumption, was associated with male sex, younger age, lower educational attainment, generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) and suicide attempts. Factor 2, alcohol-related problems, was associated with the demographic variables (to a lesser extent) and to a wider range of clinical variables, including depressive episode, GAD, mixed anxiety and depressive disorder, obsessive compulsive disorder, phobia, suicidal thoughts and suicide attempts. The one-factor SEM was associated with demographic and all assessed clinical correlates; however, this model did not fit the data well. Conclusions Two main conclusions justify the two-factor approach to alcohol use classification. First, the model fit was considerably superior and, second, the dimensions of alcohol consumption and alcohol-related problems vary considerably in their associations with measures of demographic and clinical risk. A one-factor representation of alcohol use, for instance, would fail to recognize that measures of affective/anxiety disorders are more consistently related to alcohol-related problems than to alcohol consumption. It is suggested therefore that to fully understand the complexity of alcohol use behaviour and its associated risk, future research should acknowledge the basic underlying dimensional structure of the construct.


Language: en

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