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Contextual Factors and Mental Distress as Possible Predictors of Hazardous Drinking in Norwegian Medical Doctors: A 15-Year Longitudinal, Nationwide Study

Contextual Factors and Mental Distress as Possible Predictors of Hazardous Drinking in Norwegian Medical Doctors: A 15-Year Longitudinal, Nationwide Study

European Addiction Research 23(1): 19-27

We have previously identified long-term individual predictors of hazardous drinking in doctors, but longitudinal studies on contextual factors (work and life stress) and mental distress being independently linked to hazardous drinking over the first 15 years of a medical career are lacking. Two nationwide cohorts of Norwegian doctors (n = 1,052) from all 4 Norwegian universities were surveyed in their final year of medical school (1993/1994 and 1999) (T1), and 4 (T2), 10 (T3), and 15 (T4) years later. Hazardous drinking was measured using a validated 9-item version of the Alcohol Use Disorder Identification Test. Work-related and other predictors were analysed using generalized estimating equations. Ninety percent (947/1,052) responded at least once, and 42% (450/1,052) responded at all 4 time points. Hazardous drinking was reported by 16% at T1, 14% at T2 and T3, and 15% at T4. Life events (p = 0.009) and mental distress (p = 0.002) were adjusted predictors of hazardous drinking, in addition to male gender, no religious activity, drinking to cope with tension, and low conscientiousness. Doctors' work-related stress was not linked to hazardous drinking, but life events, mental distress, and drinking to cope were. Prevention should target mental distress and drinking to cope with tension.

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Accession: 057499576

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PMID: 27832645

DOI: 10.1159/000452442

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