Relations among alcohol consumption measures derived from the Cognitive Lifetime Drinking History
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Few studies have been conducted of chronic alcohol effects on health and social outcomes. To evaluate the utility and feasibility of such studies, correlations between lifetime and current measures of total alcohol consumption (ounces) and times intoxicated were examined to determine whether these dimensions of drinking are distinct. Studies were conducted in 2142 respondents ages 35 to 70 selected from lists of licensed drivers and individuals eligible for Medicare. Lifetime measures of alcohol consumption and times intoxicated were derived from the Cognitive Lifetime Drinking History (CLDH). Depending on age and sex of the subgroups examined, current consumption accounted for only about 10-25% of the variability in lifetime alcohol consumption; current and lifetime times intoxicated were even less highly correlated. Lifetime and current measures of alcohol consumption accounted for approximately 40-50% of the variability in corresponding lifetime and current measures of times intoxicated in younger cohorts, but this fell to 25% and less in older cohorts. These findings support the use of lifetime measures of alcohol consumption and times intoxicated based on the CLDH together with current measures to investigate chronic and acute alcohol effects on health and social outcomes.
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