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Alcohol Use in New York City after the Terrorist Attacks: A Study of the Effects of Psychological Trauma on Drinking Behavior

Archived Abstract of Former PSC Researcher

Boscarino, J.A., R.E. Adams, and Sandro Galea. 2006. "Alcohol Use in New York City after the Terrorist Attacks: A Study of the Effects of Psychological Trauma on Drinking Behavior." Addictive Behaviors, 31(4): 606-621.

Research has suggested that exposure to psychological trauma is associated with increased abuse of psychoactive substances, particularly alcohol. To assess this, we analyzed alcohol consumption, binge drinking, and alcohol dependence among a random sample of 1681 New York City adults 1 year and 2 years after the September 11 attacks. In multivariate models controlling for demographic factors, other stressor exposures, social psychological resources, and history of anti-social behavior, we found that greater exposure to the World Trade Center disaster (WTCD) was associated with greater alcohol consumption at 1 year and 2 years after this event. In addition, our analyses also indicated that exposure to the WTCD was associated with binge drinking at 1 year after but not 2 years after this event. Alcohol dependence, assessed as present in either year 1 or year 2, also was positively associated with greater WTCD exposures. Posttraumatic stress disorder was not associated with alcohol use, once WTCD exposure and other covariates were controlled. Our study suggests that exposure to psychological trauma may be associated with increases in problem drinking long after exposure and deserves further investigation. (c) 2005 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

DOI:10.1016/j.addbeh.2005.05.035 (Full Text)

Country of focus: United States.

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