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Revista de Saúde Pública

Print version ISSN 0034-8910On-line version ISSN 1518-8787


ALMEIDA-FILHO, Naomar et al. Alcohol drinking patterns by gender, ethnicity, and social class in Bahia, Brazil. Rev. Saúde Pública [online]. 2004, vol.38, n.1, pp.45-54. ISSN 0034-8910.

OBJECTIVE: To study patterns of alcohol consumption and prevalence of high-risk drinking. METHODS: A household survey was carried out in a sample of 2,302 adults in Salvador, Brazil. Cases of High-Risk Drinking (HRD) were defined as those subjects who referred daily or weekly binge drinking plus episodes of drunkenness and those who reported any use of alcoholic beverages but with frequent drunkenness (at least once a week). RESULTS: Fifty-six per cent of the sample acknowledged drinking alcoholic beverages. Overall consumption was significantly related with gender (male), marital status (single), migration (non-migrant), better educated (college level), and social class (upper). No significant differences were found regarding ethnicity, except for cachaça (Brazilian sugarcane liquor) and other distilled beverages. Overall 12-month prevalence of high-risk drinking was 7%, six times more prevalent among males than females (almost 13% compared to 2.4%). A positive association of HRD prevalence with education and social class was found. No overall relationship was found between ethnicity and HRD. Male gender and higher socioeconomic status were associated with increased odds of HRD. Two-way stratified analyses yielded consistent gender effects throughout all strata of independent variables. CONCLUSIONS: The findings suggest that social and cultural elements determine local patterns of alcohol-drinking behavior. Additional research on long-term and differential effects of gender, ethnicity, and social class on alcohol use and misuse is needed in order to explain their role as sources of social health inequities.

Keywords : Alcohol consumption; Alcoholism; High-risk drinking; Social determinants; Gender; Ethnicity.

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