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Population patterns in Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Test (AUDIT) scores in the Australian population; 2007–2016

journal contribution
posted on 2020-12-04, 05:37 authored by Helen O'Brien, Sarah CallinanSarah Callinan, Michael LivingstonMichael Livingston, Joseph S Doyle, Paul DietzePaul 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.


HOB is funded by the Victorian Public Health Medicine Training Scheme (VPHMTS) programme. PD is the recipient of an NHMRC Senior Research Fellowship, ML is supported by an NHMRC Career Development Fellowship (1123840), SC is funded by Australian Research Council DECRA fellowship (DE180100016), and JD is an NHMRC Clinical Research Fellow. The authors gratefully acknowledge the support of the Victorian Operational Infrastructure Support Fund. The funders had no input into this work.


Publication Date



Australian and New Zealand Journal of Public Health





Article Number



462-467 (6p.)





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