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  • Writer's pictureDahlia Foundation

Factors affecting alcohol consumption and alcohol-related harm

A variety of factors which affect the levels and patterns of alcohol consumption and the magnitude of alcohol-related problems in populations have been identified at individual and societal levels.

Societal factors include level of economic development, culture, social norms, availability of alcohol, and implementation and enforcement of alcohol policies. Adverse health impacts and social harm from a given level and pattern of drinking are greater for poorer societies.

Individual factors include age, gender, family circumstances and socio-economic status. Although there is no single risk factor that is dominant, the more vulnerabilities a person has, the more likely the person is to develop alcohol-related problems as a result of alcohol consumption. Poorer individuals experience greater health and social harms from alcohol consumption than more affluent individuals.

The impact of alcohol consumption on chronic and acute health outcomes is largely determined by the total volume of alcohol consumed and the pattern of drinking, particularly those patterns which are associated with episodes of heavy drinking.

The context of drinking plays an important role in the occurrence of alcohol-related harm, particularly as a result of alcohol intoxication. Alcohol consumption can have an impact not only on the incidence of diseases, injuries and other health conditions, but also on their outcomes and how these evolve over time.

There are gender differences in alcohol-related mortality and morbidity, as well as levels and patterns of alcohol consumption. The percentage of alcohol-attributable deaths among men amounts to 7.7 % of all global deaths compared to 2.6 % of all deaths among women. Total alcohol per capita consumption in 2016 among male and female drinkers worldwide was on average 19.4 litres of pure alcohol for males and 7.0 litres for females.


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