Predicting adolescent alcohol drinking patterns after major injury

Chris Dunn, Frederick P. Rivara, Dennis Donovan, Ming Yu Fan, Joan Russo, Gregory Jurkovich, Douglas Zatzick

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Background:: Bedside alcohol counseling provided to injured adolescents during their acute medical care reduces subsequent alcohol consumption and reinjury. This counseling would be even more effective if extended beyond hospitalization to help injured youth return to normal functioning. To enhance this counseling, we first need to know the natural course of adolescent drinking during the year after injury, as well as the predictors of problem drinking during that year. Methods:: Prospective cohort study that described the natural history of adolescent drinking during the year after traumatic injury and identified predictors of increased alcohol use. Randomly sampled injured adolescents 12 years to 18 years of age, admitted to the surgical services of a Level I trauma center were interviewed to assess alcohol consumption at baseline and 2 months, 5 months, and 12 months after injury admission. Results:: Drinking increased steadily over the year, with this increase beginning in the months immediately after injury. Greater preinjury alcohol consumption, greater number of cumulative preinjury traumatic life experiences, and increasing age were independent positive predictors of increased drinking during the year after injury. Increased injury severity was a negative predictor such that the more severe the injury was, the less the adolescent drank during the year after injury. Conclusions:: This documented postinjury drinking pattern and its predictors can now identify for the purposes of extended counseling those adolescents most likely to drink heavily during the year after injury.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)736-740
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Trauma - Injury, Infection and Critical Care
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 1 2008
Externally publishedYes


  • Adolescent drinking
  • Major injury

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Critical Care and Intensive Care Medicine


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