Yao XI, Ni MY, Cheung F, Wu JT, Schooling CM, Leung GM, Pang H (2019) CMAJ. 2019 Jul; 191(27):E753-E760. doi: 10.1503/cmaj.181583.
Although the association of moderate alcohol consumption with specific disorders, such as cardiovascular disease and cancers, has been well documented, the evidence of the broader impact of alcohol consumption on health-related quality of life is less clear. Our objective was to examine the association of drinking patterns with changes in physical and mental well-being across populations.
We conducted a multilevel analysis with multivariate responses in the population-representative FAMILY Cohort in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, China, to examine the association between alcohol drinking patterns across 2 waves (2009-2013) (i.e., quitters, initiators, persistent drinkers, persistent former drinkers and lifetime abstainers) and changes in physical and mental well-being (Physical and Mental Component Summary of the 12-Item Short Form Health Survey [SF-12]). Analyses were stratified by sex. We validated findings using a nationally representative cohort in the United States, the National Epidemiologic Survey on Alcohol and Related Conditions (NESARC, 2001-2005).
In the FAMILY Cohort (n = 10 386; median follow-up 2.3 yr), the change in mental well-being was more favourable in female quitters than in lifetime abstainers (β = 1.44, 95% confidence interval [CI] 0.43 to 2.45; mean score change of +2.0 for quitters and +0.02 for lifetime abstainers). This association was validated in the NESARC (n = 31 079; median follow-up 3.1 yr) (β = 0.83, 95% CI 0.08 to 1.58; mean score change of -1.1 for quitters and -1.6 for lifetime abstainers).
The change in mental well-being was more favourable in female quitters, approaching the level of mental well-being of lifetime abstainers within 4 years of quitting in both Chinese and American populations.