Home > The pattern of alcohol consumption of a general hospital population in north Belfast.

Sharkey, John and Brennan, Daniel and Curran, Peter (1996) The pattern of alcohol consumption of a general hospital population in north Belfast. Alcohol and Alcoholism, 31, (3), pp. 279-285.

This study aimed to examine the pattern of alcohol use among those attending a general hospital and to explore the perception of safe drinking.

The Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Test (AUDIT) questionnaire was given for self-completion to all inpatients and outpatients on separate days and to all adults attending the accident and emergency department (A&E) on both a midweek and a weekend period. Additional questions to determine attitudes to, and intake of, alcohol were also given. Of the 464 people approached, 82% completed the questionnaire. Twenty-nine per cent of outpatients, 37.5% of inpatients and 20% of those attending A&E were teetotal.

Fifteen per cent of outpatients, 16% of inpatients and 38.5% of those attending A&E scored as misusers of alcohol according to the AUDIT questionnaire. Males were three times more likely to misuse alcohol than females. Younger women were much more likely to misuse alcohol than older women. An unexpectedly large number of those attending the gynaecological clinic reported alcohol misuse. Of the inpatient alcohol misusers identified by AUDIT, only 50% were independently detected by either nursing or medical staff, the lower misuse scores being more frequently missed.

We conclude that there continues to be a significant identifiable proportion of alcohol misuse that goes undetected. These individuals attend throughout the hospital and a simple self-completion questionnaire would considerably aid their detection.

Item Type
Publication Type
Irish-related, Article
Drug Type
Page Range
pp. 279-285
Oxford University Press
Accession Number
HRB 4311 (Not in collection)

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