Alcohol and Alcoholism Advance Access published online on August 31, 2007
This article examines how quantities drunk per drinking day (dose) and the frequency of drinking those quantities affect self-reported harm and positive consequences at the individual and population level.
Respondents who reported frequent drinking at very high doses (13 drinks and above for men, 8 and above for women) were in a league of their own with respect to the risk of harm. At the population level, the dose of 8–12 drinks accounted for most problems among men, and doses of 5–7 and 3–4 drinks among women. No gain in positive consequences was attached to drinking beyond the dose of 5–7 drinks among men and 3–4 drinks among women.
The dose level at which the population-level risk was the highest was lower than the level at which the individual-level risk was the highest, due to a greater prevalence of drinking the lesser quantities.
Future studies should pay more attention to the separate effects of dose as well as the frequency of drinking the particular doses per occasion at the individual level, and also, as to how the prevalence of these drinking patterns contributes to the population-level risk.
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