Alcohol consumption and health-services utilization in Germany.


OBJECTIVE This study tests two hypotheses. The first is that a U-shaped or inverse linear association exists between alcohol consumption and health-services utilization. Although this relationship has been examined previously, conclusions have been inconsistent. Additional research is needed to explain why abstainers use more health services than drinkers. Our second hypothesis is that abstainers with a history of heavy drinking seek out more health services than those without heavy drinking histories. METHOD Data were from two surveys conducted in Germany (N's=4268 [51% women] and 6857 [52% women]). Alcohol consumption was assessed using a quantity-frequency measure. RESULTS Outpatient and inpatient services showed an inverse linear relation with alcohol consumption. Among abstainers, those with a drinking history exhibited a higher use of outpatient visits but were not more likely to have been hospitalized. CONCLUSIONS This study supports the view that alcohol consumption is associated with decreased utilization of health services. Results provide some evidence for the hypothesis that former heavy drinkers have higher health-services utilization than either moderate drinkers or other abstainers.

Cite this paper

@article{Baumeister2006AlcoholCA, title={Alcohol consumption and health-services utilization in Germany.}, author={Sebastian E Baumeister and Christian Meyer and Daisy C. Carreon and Jennis Freyer and Hans-Juergen Rumpf and Ulfert Hapke and Ulrich John and Dietrich Alte}, journal={Journal of studies on alcohol}, year={2006}, volume={67 3}, pages={429-35} }