Alcohol-related mortality in California, 1980 to 1989

J. W. Sutocky, J. M. Shultz, Kenneth W Kizer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

42 Scopus citations


Objectives. This study sought to examine the impact of alcohol use and misuse on mortality in California during the 1980s. Methods. Alcohol-Related Disease Impact estimation software and California vital statistics data were used to calculate alcohol-related mortality, mortality rates, and years of potential life lost. Statistical tests were applied to detect significant differences in death rates by sex and race/ethnicity. Time trends in death rates for a subset of alcohol-defined diagnoses were examined using regression analysis. Results. An estimated 6.2% of all deaths for California residents during 1989 were related to alcohol, making it one of the top 10 leading causes of death. Injury diagnoses were major contributors to the total estimated number of alcohol-related deaths and years of potential life lost before age 65. Alcohol-related mortality rates were significantly higher for men and for Blacks. However, age-adjusted death rates for alcohol- defined diagnoses declined significantly from 1980 to 1989. Conclusions. A structured database approach to analyzing mortality data represents an important advance for alcohol research that has implications for policy and program planning. Future refinements and enhancements to the disease impact estimation methodology will add precision to determining how alcohol use and misuse affect public health in California.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)817-823
Number of pages7
JournalAmerican Journal of Public Health
Issue number6
StatePublished - 1993

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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