Drinking Patterns Vary by Gender, Age and Country-Level Income: Cross-Country Analysis of the International Alcohol Control Study Academic Article uri icon


  • INTRODUCTION AND AIMS:Gender and age patterns of drinking are important in guiding country responses to harmful use of alcohol. This study undertook cross-country analysis of drinking across gender, age groups in some high-and middle-income countries. DESIGN AND METHODS:Surveys of drinkers were conducted in Australia, England, Scotland, New Zealand, St Kitts and Nevis (high-income), Thailand, South Africa, Mongolia and Vietnam (middle-income) as part of the International Alcohol Control Study. Drinking pattern measures were high-frequency, heavier-typical quantity and higher-risk drinking. Differences in the drinking patterns across age and gender groups were calculated. Logistic regression models were applied including a measure of country-level income. RESULTS:Percentages of high-frequency, heavier-typical quantity and higher-risk drinking were greater among men than in women in all countries. Older age was associated with drinking more frequently but smaller typical quantities especially in high-income countries. Middle-income countries overall showed less frequent but heavier typical quantities; however, the lower frequencies meant the percentages of higher risk drinkers were lower overall compared with high-income countries (with the exception of South Africa). DISCUSSION AND CONCLUSIONS:High-frequency drinking was greater in high-income countries, particularly in older age groups. Middle-income countries overall showed less frequent drinking but heavier typical quantities. As alcohol use becomes more normalised as a result of the expansion of commercial alcohol it is likely frequency of drinking will increase with a likelihood of greater numbers drinking at higher risk levels.


  • Chaiyasong, Surasak
  • Huckle, Taisia
  • Mackintosh, Anne-Marie
  • Meier, Petra
  • Parry, Charles
  • Callinan, Sarah
  • Cuong, Pham Viet
  • Kazantseva, Elena
  • Gray-Phillip, Gaile
  • Parker, Karl
  • Casswell, Sally

publication date

  • 2018