This study delineated patterns of alcohol use 1 year after traumatic brain injury (TBI) in a large, population-based, epidemiological, nonclinical sample, and identified predictors of heavy alcohol use in these individuals. Participants were 1,606 adults identified by review of a South Carolina statewide hospital discharge data set, on the basis of satisfying the Centers for Disease Control case definition of TBI, and were interviewed by telephone 1 year after TBI-related discharge. Alcohol use in the month prior to interview was classified according to categories from the Quantity–Frequency–Variability Index; heavy drinking was defined as nearly daily use with ≥ 5 drinks at least occasionally, or at least three occasions with ≥ 5 drinks. A polychotomous logistic regression with 3 response levels (heavy, moderate, and abstinent/infrequent/light drinking) was used to identify predictors of heavy drinking. Heavy drinking in the month prior to interview was reported by 15.4% of participants, while 14.3% reported moderate drinking and 70.3% reported abstinence or light/infrequent drinking. Risk factors for heavy drinking included male gender, younger age, history of substance abuse prior to TBI, diagnosis of depression since TBI, fair/moderate mental health, and better physical functioning. There was no association between drinking patterns and TBI severity. (JINS, 2005, 11, 322–330.)
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