Alcohol Use by David B. Cooper

By David B. Cooper

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Much of the data used for the assessment of harm are collected through surveys. Respondents are asked to report on their levels of drinking in terms of the number of drinks they have consumed. These self-reported values are then standardised by researchers into drink or ethanol equivalents. Whether these standardised values can accurately be used for research purposes is a complicated issue. Data derived from self-report questionnaires rely heavily on the ability of respondents to remember the number of drinks they have consumed within a given period of time, which can cover a day, a week, months, or even a year.

In moments of success in sports, finance or politics, for example, men are still expected to offer and to drink alcohol. There is considerable evidence that drinking patterns are also dependent on education, social class, occupation, employment status, region and urbanisation, race/ethnicity and religion, but only a few studies have focused on young adults. Moreover, there are profound differences between societies. For instance, in some countries wine drinking is more popular in rural areas, especially if the country produces wine itself, whereas in Scandinavian countries, for example, drinking occurs mainly in urban settings.

However, an individual whose drinking is functional (Mulford's factor 2), whose drinking is central (Mulford's factor 3), and who tends to drink large doses (Mulford's factor 4) is much more liable, in Iowa, to be labelled as a problem drinker. 5 Factors in community labelling6 1 2 3 4 Trouble due to drinking Personal effect drinking Preoccupied drinking Uncontrolled drinking. It is worth underlining that according to the people of Iowa, and it is unlikely that they are unusual, it is those people for whom drinking is personally effective and who drink frequently because of that who are in danger of having their drinking labelled as problematic.

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