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Alcohol and University Students in Iraq: Attitudes, Availability, and Use

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posted on 2023-07-11, 01:55 authored by Mustafa Al Ansari, Angela Dawson, Robin RoomRobin Room, Mohammed Abdulzahra, Katherine M Conigrave
As with other Muslim-majority countries (MMCs), there is little data on alcohol use in Iraq. This study examines attitudes toward alcohol and its use among Iraqi university students. It considers the likely impact of the context of conflict and globalization. An online quantitative questionnaire was distributed to students at several universities in Iraq. The survey included questions on alcohol use (AUDIT-C) and availability, drug use, attitudes toward alcohol policy and a screen for post-traumatic stress disorder (PC-PTSD). Descriptive analysis was conducted,followed by multivariate logistic regression to determine independent predictors of drinking. Of the 468 students who provided alcohol-related data, a minority reported having ever consumed alcohol (5.3%; 1.6% females, 10% males). Only 21 participants consumed alcohol in the last 12 months, of whom six had an AUDIT-C score of 4+ (all males). Most students indicated that access to alcohol was “easy”. In multivariate analysis, gender was an independent predictor of lifetime consumption; however, it was not a significant predictor of past year drinking. Living away from relatives was the only consistent significant predictor of lifetime and past year drinking, including among Muslim students. Of the 220 respondents who completed the PC-PTSD screen, 29.2% (n=63) had positive scores. Two in five (n=90, 41.7%) reported direct exposure to violent conflict. While prevalence of drinking is low, 6/15 male current alcohol users in this convenience sample report drinking at risky levels. There are several challenges conducting research on this sensitive topic in a MMC. Further research could strive to obtain representative samples and to ascertain appropriate prevention and early intervention approaches for the socio-cultural context of Iraq.


Publication Date



Journal of Muslim Mental Health






19p. (p. 45-63)


Michigan Publishing



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© The Authors 2022 This is an open access article under the CC BY-NC-ND license (

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