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Binge drinking, gender and clinical depression

  • Alcohol consumption and depression have a complicated relationship.
  • New findings indicate that depression is primarily related to binge drinking.
  • The relationship between major clinical depression and alcohol consumption appears to be stronger for women than it is for men.
  • However, men and women do not differ in the relationship between alcohol use and depression when depression is measured as recent feelings of depression or unhappiness.

Although previous research has shown that alcohol consumption and depression are often related, the findings have not been consistent. A new study has found that how researchers measure both alcohol consumption and depression, as well as examination by gender, are key issues when interpreting findings on the relationship between alcohol and depression.

Results are published in the January issue of Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research.

"Not all studies have found a significant relationship between drinking and depression," said Kathryn Graham, senior scientist at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, "and some have found a relationship for one gender but not the other. In our study, we included two quite different types of measures of depression. We also used four clearly different types of alcohol consumption measures that examined both drinking pattern as well as overall consumption." Graham is the corresponding author for the study.

"This is an important study of a large national sample of Canadian women and men," added Sharon C. Wilsnack, Chester Fritz Distinguished Professor at the University of North Dakota School of Medicine & Health Sciences. "It looks at associations between depression and alcohol use separately for women and for men. It is clear from the study's results that it is a mistake to analyze relationships between depression and alcohol consumption without specifying which manifest
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3-Jan-2007


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