The relationship between educational attainment and alcohol use is 'bidirectional,' for example, alcohol use may hinder educational attainment; whereas education may serve as a protective factor against the development of alcohol-use disorders. A study in the August issue of Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research has found that educational attainment may also be able to predict drinking outcomes following alcohol treatment.
"People have been interested in the association between educational attainment and alcohol disorders because education is a modifiable factor," said Shelly F. Greenfield, assistant professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School, and medical director of the alcohol and drug abuse ambulatory treatment program at McLean Hospital. "Education is something you might have influence over. Although previous studies have looked at this association, none to our knowledge have looked at the influence of educational attainment on the outcome of inpatient alcohol treatment."
For this study, researchers consecutively recruited between 1993 and 1996 101 individuals (60 males, 41 females) who were hospitalized for alcohol dependence, and monitored their progress for one year following discharge. Each study participant was interviewed during their hospital stay, and at monthly intervals following discharge. Study authors examined the relationship between the inpatients' educational attainment prior to treatment and their post-discharge drinking outcomes, including time to relapse.
Results indicate than an individual's years of education are able to significantly predict alcohol-treatment outc