FEMALE SURGEONS' ALCOHOL USE: A STUDY OF A NATIONAL SAMPLE OF NORWEGIAN DOCTORS


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Abstract

AimsThis study was designed to describe the alcohol use by female surgeons and the hazards of their drinking habits for them compared with the habits of female doctors from non-surgical specialities, and with those of their male colleagues in surgery, and to identify the variables associated with hazardous drinking.MethodsThe data were collected in 2000 from a representative national sample of 1120 Norwegian doctors. Alcohol use was measured using a modified version of the Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Test. A score of 9 or more was used as an indicator of hazardous drinking.ResultsFemale surgeons compared with female non-surgeons had tendencies for more frequent moderate alcohol consumption accompanied by more frequent consumption of larger amounts of alcohol, and a significantly higher rate of hazardous drinking (18 vs 7.6%). Being a surgeon (OR=1.7, 95% CI 1.2–2.4), male (OR=2.7, 1.7–4.1) and aged 45 years or over (OR=1.5, 1.1–2.2) were significant predictors of hazardous drinking. With separate gender analyses, being a surgeon was a significant predictor for both females (OR=2.8, 1.2–6.6) and males (OR=1.5, 1.0–2.3).ConclusionFemale surgeons practising in Norway drink more frequently and more hazardously than other female doctors. There are a number of possible explanations for this. Surgical culture may be an important factor.

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