Purpose of Study The aim of this study is to determine prevalence and correlates of at-risk drinking among a national sample of medical students.
Design Cross-sectional, anonymous, Web-based survey.
Methods Used 2,698 medical students from 36 US medical schools (1st-4th year) completed this survey. Included in the survey instruments was a 10-item scale (AUDIT) to assess at-risk drinking behaviors within the last 12 months.
Summary of Results Majority of the sample was female (60%) and in the 1st or 2nd year of medical school (58%). Mean age of the sample was 26 years. Over 15% of the subjects (n = 412) scored positive for at-risk drinking (≥ 8). Multivariate analysis of the data revealed that the following independent predictors were statistically significant (p ≤ .05): being male [OR and 95% CI = 2.10 (2.88-1.52)], not married [OR and 95% CI = 2.74 (4.21-1.78)], using drugs [OR and 95% CI = 1.93 (1.43-2.62)], smoking in the last 30 days [OR and 95% CI = 4.44 (3.08-6.41)], having low perception of risk [OR and 95% CI = 1.91 (2.67-1.36)], being impulsive [OR and 95% CI = 1.97 (1.44-2.69)], being depressed [OR and 95% CI = 1.64 (1.19-2.26)], and having gambling problems [OR and 95% CI = 1.70 (.997-2.92)].
Conclusions Reached Alcohol abuse is a common method of stress reduction among medical students. With heavy alcohol consumption being a possible marker for future alcohol abuse and its potential health, social, and economic impacts, this underscores the need for effective interventions. Furthermore, research indicates that physicians who have healthier lifestyles will be more inclined to educate their patients on the importance of maintaining healthy lifestyles.
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