Social Psychiatry and Psychiatric Epidemiology

, Volume 35, Issue 12, pp 539–547

Prevalence of alcohol consumption, abuse and dependence in a country with high per capita consumption: findings from the German TACOS study

  • C. Meyer
  • H.-J. Rumpf
  • U. Hapke
  • H. Dilling
  • U. John
ORIGINAL PAPER

DOI: 10.1007/s001270050277

Cite this article as:
Meyer, C., Rumpf, HJ., Hapke, U. et al. Soc Psychiatry Psychiatr Epidemiol (2000) 35: 539. doi:10.1007/s001270050277

Abstract

Background: The aim of the Transitions in Alcohol Consumption and Smoking (TACOS) project is to investigate substance use and use disorders in the adult general population in a region of the under-researched north of Germany, focussing on smoking and alcohol consumption. In this study, the design and quality assurance provisions of the baseline cross-section of the longitudinal project are described. Prevalence rates of alcohol use disorders, consumption pattern, and the nature of their association are also analysed with regard to preventive strategies. Method: A random sample of 4075 participants, aged 18 to 64 and drawn from residents registration office files, was interviewed with a DSM-IV adapted version of WHO CIDI. Fieldwork resulted in a response rate of 70.2% and an unbiased database with regard to demographic characteristics. Results: Low lifetime prevalence of alcohol use disorders (4.5% abuse, 3.8% dependence) and hazardous consumption (13.2% lifetime; 6.0% 12-month) was found compared to southern regions of Germany and US American data. In contrast, we found a comparatively high percentage of moderate alcohol uses. Male subjects are more affected by lifetime alcohol use disorders (abuse OR 8.3, 95% CI 5.3–13.2; dependence OR 4.3, 95% CI 2.8–6.4). The association between alcohol use disorders and alcohol consumption pattern revealed a weaker relation for alcohol abuse compared to dependence. Conclusion: National and regional drinking habits and norms have to be considered as a significant source of variance, supporting the need for European epidemiological research on substance use in addition to US American activities, and emphasising the advantages of community-based preventive measures. An evaluation of public recommendations for safe limits of alcohol consumption and prevention targets referring to average consumption is indicated. There is also a need for a clear distinction between alcohol abuse and dependence.

Copyright information

© Steinkopff Verlag 2000

Authors and Affiliations

  • C. Meyer
    • 1
  • H.-J. Rumpf
    • 2
  • U. Hapke
    • 1
  • H. Dilling
    • 2
  • U. John
    • 1
  1. 1.University of Greifswald, Department of Epidemiology and Social Medicine, Research Group for Substance Abuse and Dependence, Greifswald, GermanyDE
  2. 2.Medical University of Lübeck, Department of Psychiatry and Psychotherapy, Research Group for Substance Abuse and Dependence, Lübeck, GermanyDE
  3. 3.Ernst-Moritz-Arudt-University of Greifswald Department of Epidemiology and Social Medicine Walther-Rathenan-Straße 48 D-17487 Greifswald, Germany e-mail: chmeyer@mail.uni-greifswald.deDE