Attempts to reduce alcohol intake and treatment needs among people with probable alcohol dependence in England: a general population survey

Jacklyn Dunne, Andreas Kimergård, Jamie Brown, Emma Beard, Penny Buykx, Susan Michie, Colin Drummond

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Citations (Scopus)
208 Downloads (Pure)


Aims To compare the proportion of people in England with probable alcohol dependence (Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Test [AUDIT] score ≥ 20) with those with other drinking patterns (categorized by AUDIT scores) in terms of motivation to reduce drinking and use of alcohol support resources.
Design A combination of random probability and simple quota sampling to conduct monthly cross-sectional household computer-assisted interviews between March 2014 and August 2017.
Setting The general population in all 9 regions of England.ParticipantsParticipants in the Alcohol Toolkit Study (ATS), a monthly household survey of alcohol consumption among people aged 16 years and over in England (n = 69,826). The mean age was 47 years (SD = 18.78; 95% Confidence Interval (CI) = 46.8−47) and 51% (n = 35,560) were female.
Measurements Chi-Square tests were used to investigate associations with demographic variables, motivation to quit drinking, attempts to quit drinking, GP engagement and types of support accessed in the last 12 months across AUDIT risk zones.
Findings A total of 0.6% were classified as people with probable alcohol dependence (95% CI = 0.5−0.7). Motivation to quit (X2=1692.27, p<0.001), current attempts (X2=473.94, p<0.001) and past-year attempts (X2=593.67, p<0.001) differed by AUDIT risk zone. People with probable dependence were more likely than other ATS participants to have a past-year attempt to cut down or quit (51.8%) and have received advice from their GP about drinking (12.1%), and less likely to report no motivation to reduce their drinking (26.2%). Those with probable dependence had higher use of self-help books and mobile apps than other ATS participants; however, 27.7% did not access any resources during their most recent attempt to cut down.
ConclusionsAdults in England with probable alcohol dependence, measured through the Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Test (AUDIT), demonstrate higher motivation to quit drinking and greater use of both specialist treatment and self-driven support compared with those in other AUDIT zones, but most do not access treatment resources to support their attempts.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1430-1438
Issue number8
Early online date25 Mar 2018
Publication statusPublished - 31 Aug 2018


Dive into the research topics of 'Attempts to reduce alcohol intake and treatment needs among people with probable alcohol dependence in England: a general population survey'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this