LEFO - Legeforskningsinstituttet

Institute for Studies of the Medical Profession


Use of alcohol to cope with tension, and its relation to gender, years in medical school and hazardous drinking: a study of two nation-wide Norwegian samples of medical students

Tyssen R, Vaglum P, Aasland OG, Grønvold NT, Ekeberg Ø. Addiction 1998; 93 (9): 1341-9.
15. september 1998

Article in English.

Abstract on Pubmed:

AIMS: To study the association between the use of alcohol to cope with tension and hazardous drinking, and the prevalence and the predictors of such drinking behaviours. DESIGN: Cross-sectional surveys of two nation-wide samples of medical students, one at the beginning and one at the end of medical training. PARTICIPANTS: Medical students entering Norwegian medical schools in 1993 (N = 379) or graduating in 1993 and 1994 (N = 522); 55.6% of the total sample were women. MEASUREMENTS: Postal questionnaires including SCL-5, Perceived Medical School Stress. FINDINGS: Use of alcohol to cope was reported by 10.5% of the students with no significant gender difference. Hazardous drinking (´binge drinking´ at least 2-3 times per month) was reported by 14% of all the students, 24% among the men and 6% among the women. There was a strong association between use of alcohol to cope with tension and hazardous drinking, OR = 5.11, 95% CI (2.88-9.07) when controlling for other possible predictors. Use of alcohol to cope was also associated with increasing age, mental distress and lack of religious activity. The senior students used alcohol as a way of coping less often, but not hazardous drinking. Male gender, religious inactivity, high self-esteem and having no children were predictors of hazardous drinking. CONCLUSION: This study suggests that the use of alcohol to cope with tension is an independent risk factor connected with hazardous drinking among medical students, with no difference in prevalence between the genders.

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