Associations of alcohol use, mental health and socioeconomic status in England: findings from a representative population survey

Jo-Anne Puddephatt, Andrew Jones, Suzanne Gage, Nicola Fear, Matt Field, Sally McManus, Orla McBride, Laura Goodwin

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23 Citations (Scopus)
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Background: Alcohol use and mental health problems often co-occur, however, little is known about how this varies by type of mental health problem and to what extent associations are explained by socioeconomic status (SES). Our study examined the prevalence and associations of non-drinking, hazardous use, and harmful/probable dependence in individuals who do and do not meet criteria for different mental health problems and whether associations remained after adjustment for SES. Methods: A secondary analysis of an English dataset, 2014 Adult Psychiatric Morbidity Survey (N = 7,218), was conducted. The Alcohol Use Disorder Identification Test was used to categorise participants as non-drinking, low risk, hazardous use and harmful/probable dependence. Mental health problems were screened using a range of validated tools. Multinomial logistic regression analyses were used to address study aims. Results: The prevalence of non-drinking, hazardous and harmful/probable dependence was higher among those meeting criteria for a mental health problem. After adjustment for SES, non-drinking was most common in those meeting criteria for probable psychotic disorder (MOR = 3.42, 95 %CI = 1.74–6.70), hazardous use in those meeting criteria for anti-social personality disorder (MOR = 2.66, 95 %CI = 1.69–4.20) and harmful/probable dependence in those meeting criteria for borderline personality disorder (MOR = 9.77, 95 % CI = 4.81–19.84). Conclusions: There were marked increases in the odds of reporting both non-drinking and harmful drinking among those meeting criteria for a mental health problem, particularly more severe problems. Our findings indicate that the relationship between alcohol and mental health is more complex and comorbid alcohol and mental health problems should be treated in parallel with access to both services.

Original languageEnglish
Article number108463
JournalDrug and Alcohol Dependence
Early online date30 Dec 2020
Publication statusPublished (in print/issue) - 1 Feb 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This research was funded as part of a PhD Studentship by the Society for the Study of Addiction .

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020 Elsevier B.V.

Copyright 2021 Elsevier B.V., All rights reserved.


  • Alcohol use
  • Comorbidity
  • Epidemiology
  • Mental health
  • Socioeconomic characteristics
  • Alcohol Drinking/epidemiology
  • Prevalence
  • Ethanol
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • England/epidemiology
  • Male
  • Mental Health
  • Personality Disorders
  • Social Class
  • Alcoholism/epidemiology
  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Female
  • Surveys and Questionnaires


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