Alcohol consumption and health-related quality of life in regional, rural and metropolitan Australia: analysis of cross-sectional data from the Community Health and Rural/Regional Medicine (CHARM) study
Quality of Life Research
Background: Relationships between alcohol consumption and health are complex and vary between countries, regions, and genders. Previous research in Australia has focused on estimating the effect of alcohol consumption on mortality. However, little is known about the relationships between alcohol consumption and health-related quality of life (QoL) in Australia. This study aimed to investigate the levels of alcohol intake and QoL in males and females in rural, regional and metropolitan areas of Australia. Method: Participants (n = 1717 Australian adults) completed an online cross-sectional study. Males and females were compared on measures including the AUDIT-C and WHOQOL-BREF. Data were stratified into risk of alcohol use disorder (AUD) and associations were examined between alcohol consumption and QoL, adjusting for sociodemographic variables. Results: Males had higher alcohol consumption and were at greater risk of AUD than females (20% vs 8%). Relationships between alcohol consumption and QoL were positive or non-significant for low–moderate AUD risk categories and negative in the severe AUD risk category. Males in regional communities reported higher alcohol consumption (AUDIT-C score 6.6 vs 4.1, p < 0.01) than metropolitan areas. Regression analyses identified that after adjusting for sociodemographic variables, alcohol consumption was positively related to overall, environmental, and physical QoL and general health. Conclusion: The results indicate that alcohol consumption is negatively related to QoL only in those with severe risk of AUD. Males in regional areas reported higher alcohol consumption than those in metropolitan areas. These results provide further information about relationships between alcohol intake and health in Australia that can help inform prevention, screening and delivery of interventions.
Open Access Status
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Department of Health and Aged Care, Australian Government