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Population patterns in Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Test (AUDIT) scores in the Australian population; 2007–2016
journal contributionposted on 04.12.2020, 05:37 by Helen O'Brien, Sarah Callinan, Michael Livingston, Joseph S Doyle, Paul Dietze
© 2020 The Authors Objectives: Despite widespread use of the Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Test (AUDIT), there are no published contemporary population-level scores for Australia. We examined population-level AUDIT scores and hazardous drinking for Australia over the period 2007–2016. Methods: Total population, age- and gender-specific AUDIT scores, and the percentage of the population with an AUDIT score of 8 or more (indicating hazardous drinking), were derived from four waves of the nationally representative National Drug Strategy Household Survey, weighted to approximate the Australian population. Results: In 2016, the mean AUDIT score was 4.58, and 22.22% of the population scored ≥8. Both measures remained stable from 2007 to 2010 but declined in 2013 and 2016. Scores were highest in those aged 18–24 years, the lowest in those aged 14–17 or 60+. A downward trend in AUDIT scores was seen in younger age groups, while the 40–59 and 60+ groups increased or did not change. Conclusions: Despite an overall decline in AUDIT scores, nearly one-quarter of Australians reported hazardous drinking. Implications for public health: The marked declines in hazardous drinking among young people are positive, but trends observed among those aged 40–59 and 60+ years suggests targeted interventions for older Australians are needed.