Prediction of Drinking Outcomes for Male Alcoholics after 10 to 14 Years

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This study reports on the long-term outcomes of 360 men who were hospitalized for alcoholism during 1980 to 1984 and followed at 12 months and again 10 to 14 years later. At the 10/14-year follow-up, 96 (26.7%) men were confirmed as deceased; 255 (70.8%) men participated in the assessment/interview battery completed during baseline hospitalization. The battery consisted of psychosocial, alcohol-related, and psychiatric measures. Two distinct but highly correlated outcome measures were selected: a clinical rating scale and a factor score. Overall, predictors from baseline and 12-month follow-up included age at intake hospitalization, alcoholism severity, social stability, drinking days, and antisocial personality disorder. Approximately 37% of the assessed survivors were either totally abstinent or drinking nonabusively throughout the 10/14-year follow-up, whereas another 37% continued to drink abusively. Men who abstained or reduced alcohol intake reported better physical health at follow-up than those who continued to drink. Although our findings did not directly link alcoholism to death, they strongly indicate that chronic alcohol abuse may lead to premature death.

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