Childhood trauma and risky alcohol consumption: A study of Australian adults with low housing stability



Publication Details

Keane, C., Magee, C. A. & Lee, J. (2015). Childhood trauma and risky alcohol consumption: A study of Australian adults with low housing stability. Drug and Alcohol Review, 34 (1), 18-26.


Introduction and Aims This paper examined whether recall of childhood trauma was associated with adult alcohol consumption in a sample of Australians with low housing security. The secondary aim was to examine whether risky alcohol consumption predicted subsequent housing instability. Sociodemographic factors were examined as potential moderators of these associations. Design and Methods This paper utilised data collected through the Journeys Home Study, a longitudinal study of a representative sample of individuals who were homeless or at risk of homelessness. This paper focused on 1224 participants aged 18 years and over. Data on alcohol use, childhood trauma and sociodemographic characteristics were collected through interviews at baseline. Homeless status at 6- to 12-month follow-up was assessed via interview. Logistic regression modelling was used to examine associations of alcohol consumption with childhood abuse, sociodemographic factors and changes in homelessness status. Results Self-reported recall of childhood experiences of violence was more likely among current drinkers, risky or not, than among abstainers. Recall of childhood neglect was more common among abstainers than among risky drinkers. Discussion and Conclusions The relationships between recall of childhood trauma and adult alcohol consumption are likely to be complex. Risky consumption may contribute to continuing homelessness among adults with unstable housing.

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