Who Drinks Most of the Total Alcohol in Young Men—Risky Single Occasion Drinking as Normative Behaviour

Gmel, Gerhard ; Gaume, Jacques ; Faouzi, Mohamed ; Kulling, Jean-Pierre ; Daeppen, Jean-Bernard

In: Alcohol & Alcoholism, 2008, vol. 43, no. 6, p. 692-697

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    Aims: The objectives of this study were to analyse (a) the distribution of risky single-occasion drinking (RSOD) among 19-year-old men in Switzerland and (b) to show the percentage of all alcohol consumption in the form of RSOD. Methods: The study was based on a census of Swiss francophone 19-year-old men consecutively reporting for processing. The study was conducted at Army Recruitment Center. The participants were 4116 recruits consecutively enrolling for mandatory army recruitment procedures between 23 January and 29 August in 2007. The measures were alcohol consumption measured in drinks of ∼10 g of pure alcohol, number of drinking occasions with six or more drinks (RSOD) in the past 12 months and a retrospective 1 week drinking diary. Results: 264 recruits were never seen by the research staff, 3536 of the remaining 3852 conscripts completed a questionnaire which showed that 7.2% abstained from alcohol and 75.5% of those drinking had an RSOD day at least monthly. The typical frequency of drinking was 1-3 days per week on weekends. The average quantity on weekends was about seven drinks, 69.3% of the total weekly consumption was in the form of RSOD days, and of all the alcohol consumed, 96.2% was by drinkers who had RSOD days at least once a month. Conclusion: Among young men, RSOD constitutes the norm. Prevention consequently must address the total population and not only high-risk drinkers