Incidence of first onset alcohol use disorder: a 16-year follow-up in the Taiwanese aborigines
OBJECTIVE Using prospectively gathered data, we assessed cumulative incidence of alcohol dependence using the Diagnostic Interview Schedule (DIS) based on criteria from the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Revised Third Edition (DSM-III-R). METHOD Probability samples of area residents were selected by census tracts and households in five communities of the Epidemiologic Catchment Area Survey program. The baseline interview for the Baltimore site was completed in 1981, and between 1993 and 1996 the original Baltimore site cohort was traced. After excluding individuals with current or prior history of alcohol dependence at the time of the baseline interview, we identified a cohort of 1,642 individuals who were at risk for alcohol dependence. Person-years of risk were calculated, cumulative incidence obtained, and survival analyses completed. RESULTS Several principal findings that confirm some from studies of shorter follow-up intervals are as follows: (1) incidence of alcohol dependence is consistently greater for men and generally decreases with age; (2) problem drinkers have the highest incidence of dependence, and the male-to-female ratio is attenuated in this group; (3) no differences were found for risk of dependence by racial group; and (4) predictors of alcohol dependence include male gender, young age, not being married and having a history of tobacco smoking. CONCLUSIONS The current study supplies data on the rate of development of DIS/DSM-III-R alcohol dependence in a population-based sample with an extended interval of follow-up. Methodological considerations in the analysis and interpretation of this type of prospectively gathered data are discussed.