How does education affect the likelihood of alcoholism in the US?

Updated: Nov 27, 2018
  • Author: Warren Thompson, MD, FACP; Chief Editor: Glen L Xiong, MD  more...
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Answer

According to Vaillant's research, inner-city men began problem drinking approximately 10 years earlier than college graduates (age 25-30 y vs age 40-45 y). Inner-city men were more likely to be abstinent from alcohol consumption than college graduates (30% vs 10%) but more likely to die from drinking (30% vs 15%). A large percentage of college graduates alternated between controlled drinking and alcohol abuse for many years. Returning to controlled drinking from alcohol abuse is uncommon, no more than 10%; however, this figure is likely to be high because it was obtained from self-reported data. Mortality in both groups was related strongly to smoking. Abstinence for less than 5-6 years did not predict continued abstinence (41% of men abstinent for 2 y relapsed).

According to the 2015 NSDUH, 12.5% of college students ages 18–22 reported heavy alcohol use in the past month compared with 8.5% of other persons of the same age. [8] Regarding binge drinking, 37.9% of college students ages 18–22 reported binge drinking in the past month compared with 32.6% of other persons of the same age. [8]


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