Finnish study: Mental health and alcohol useSeptember 19, 2014
The connections between alcohol use, mental health problems and mental well-being have been under-researched. We examined the links between different aspects of alcohol use and positive and negative aspects of mental health, and the effect of protective social factors on these links.
A cross-sectional general population survey of Finns aged 15–69 years was carried out in 2008 (n = 2725, response rate 74%). The included aspects of alcohol use were the frequency and volume of drinking, binge drinking and hazardous drinking using Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Test (AUDIT).
Binge drinking and, particularly, hazardous drinking were associated with different aspects of mental health. The proportion of respondents with poor mental well-being increased when binge drinking was more frequent than monthly, and when respondents scored ≥6 on the AUDIT scale. Abstainers reported poor sense of mastery and former drinkers additionally reported poor satisfaction with life. Frequency and volume of drinking did not have a consistent connection with mental health. These associations between alcohol use and mental health did not depend on the protective social factors.
Frequent binge drinking and alcohol problems are associated with poor mental health, especially with a lack of life satisfaction and psychological distress. This result applies equally to lower and higher social status groups.