Measuring Alcohol-Related Consequences in School Surveys: Alcohol-Attributable Consequences or Consequences With Students’ Alcohol Attribution Academic Article uri icon


  • In alcohol epidemiology surveys, there is a tradition of measuring alcohol-related consequences using respondents' attribution of alcohol as the cause. The authors aimed to compare the prevalence and frequency of self-attributed consequences to consequences without self-attribution using alcohol-attributable fractions (AAF). In 2007, a total of 7,174 Swiss school students aged 13-16 years reported the numbers of 6 alcohol-related adverse consequences (e.g., fights, injuries) they had incurred in the past 12 months. Consequences were measured with and without attribution of alcohol as the cause. The alcohol-use measures were frequency and volume of drinking in the past 12 months and number of risky single-occasion (> or =5 drinks) drinking episodes in the past 30 days. Attributable fractions were derived from logistic (> or =1 incident) and Poisson (number of incidents) regression analyses. Although relative risk estimates were higher when alcohol-attributed consequences were compared with nonattributed consequences, the use of AAFs resulted in more alcohol-related consequences (10,422 self-attributed consequences vs. 24,520 nonattributed consequences determined by means of AAFs). The likelihood of underreporting was higher among drinkers with intermediate frequencies than among either rare drinkers or frequent drinkers. Therefore, the extent of alcohol-related adverse consequences among adolescents may be underestimated when using self-attributed consequences, because of differential attribution processes, especially among infrequent drinkers.

publication date

  • January 1, 2010