A descriptive study of trauma, alcohol, and alcoholism in young adults

Frederick P. Rivara, James G. Gurney, Richard K. Ries, Debra A. Seguin, Michael K. Copass, Gregory Jurkovich

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

46 Scopus citations


Young adults, 18-20 years of age, admitted to a trauma center via the emergency department, were studied to determine if they had been drinking prior to their injury event. The prevalence of self-reported chronic alcohol problems was examined using the short Michigan Alcohol Screening Test (SMAST). Of the 319 subjects, 131 (41%) tested positive for alcohol, including about onehalf of those with intentional injuries and 38% with unintentional injuries. Approximately 22% had blood alcohol concentrations of 100 mg/dL or more, indicating they were legally intoxicated at the time of their injury. Of study subjects who completed the SMAST, 49% attained scores suggesting potential or probable alcoholism, and 20% had already sought some type of treatment, despite their young age. Health-care practices and policies related to these findings include routine screening of trauma patients for alcohol abuse and integration of chemical dependency intervention services with trauma care.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)663-667
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Adolescent Health
Issue number8
StatePublished - Jan 1 1992
Externally publishedYes


  • Adolescents Alcohol Alcoholism Epidemiology MAST Trauma

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health


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