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Type Journal Article - African Journal of Psychiatry
Title Alcohol use and problem drinking in South Africa: findings from a national population-based survey
Author(s)
Volume 14
Issue 1
Publication (Day/Month/Year) 2011
Page numbers 30-37
URL http://www.ajol.info/index.php/ajpsy/article/viewFile/65466/53154
Abstract
Objective:This study formed part of the South African National HIV, Incidence, Behaviour and Communication (SABSSM) 2008 survey,
which included questions assessing the extent of alcohol use and problem drinking among South Africans. Method: A multistage
random population sample of 15 828 persons aged 15 or older (56.3% women) was included in the survey. Alcohol use was assessed
using the Alcohol Use Identification Test (AUDIT).Tabulation of data for different age groups, geolocality, educational level, income, and
population group produced the estimates and associated confidence intervals. The odds ratios for these variables in relation to
hazardous or harmful drinking were also computed. Results: Current alcohol use was reported by 41.5% of the men and 17.1% of
women. White men (69.8%) were most likely and Indian/Asian women (15.2%) least likely to be current drinkers. Urban residents
(33.4 %) were more likely than rural dwellers (18.3%) to report current drinking. Risky or hazardous or harmful drinking was reported
by 9%: 17% among men and 2.9% among women. In men,risky drinking was associated with: the 20-54 year age group; the Coloured
population group; lower economic status; and lower education. Among women, risky drinking was associated with: urban residence;
the Coloured population group; lower education; and higher income. Conclusion: An increase in current, binge drinking and
hazardous or harmful drinking prevalence rates was observed from 2005 to 2008 in South Africa. Multilevel interventions are required
to target high-risk drinkers and to create awareness in the general population of the problems associated with harmful drinking. Future
prospective studies are needed to assess the impact of problem drinking.

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