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Prevalence and socioeconomic characteristics of alcohol disorders among men and women in the Eastern Cape Province, South Africa.

Journal article
Authors Lena Andersson
Akwasi Twum-Antwi
Carin Staland-Nyman
Dalena van Rooyen
Published in Health & social care in the community
Volume 26
Issue 1
Pages e143–e153
ISSN 1365-2524
Publication year 2018
Published at Department of Social Work
Pages e143–e153
Language en
Subject categories Public Health, Global Health, Social Medicine and Epidemiology, Social Work


There is growing concern about alcohol problems in low- and middle-income countries. More research is required, particularly among the younger generation. The aim of this study was to investigate the prevalence of alcohol disorders and associated socioeconomic characteristics among young men and women living in the Eastern Cape Province, South Africa. This was a cross-sectional population-based study of 977 participants (52% male and 48% female) aged 18-40, the majority of whom lived in low-income areas. Data collection was carried out in 2012 by trained fieldworkers. The Mini International Neuropsychiatric Interview (DSM-IV) was used to investigate the prevalence of alcohol dependence (increased tolerance to alcohol, failed attempt to cut down, risk of physical and mental effects) and alcohol abuse (harmful use, consistent intoxication, risk behaviour, physically hazardous, social problems). A high 12-month prevalence of alcohol dependence was found (26.5% in total; 39.0% among men and 19.1% among women) as well as of alcohol abuse (9% in total; 19.0% among men and 6.0% among women). Few socioeconomic differences emerged among the men, except older men (OR 1.94, CI 1.11-3.42) and those supported by social grants (OR 2.28, CI 1.06-4.93), who presented higher odd ratios for alcohol dependence than the reference groups. Among the women, more differences emerged: women who were widowed/single (OR 2.35, CI 1.20-4.62), had no education (OR 3.41, CI 1.04-11.21), had a low income (OR 3.26, CI 1.55-6.80) and had no social support from friends when ill presented higher odd ratios (OR 1.73, CI 1.07-2.80). In the adjusted model, marital status and low income remained statistically significant. With regard to alcohol abuse, fewer socioeconomic differences emerged. Interventions need to address the early onset of alcohol misuse in order to meet both current needs and long-standing mental and physical illness.

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