'Alcohol dependence' and death: Survival analysis of the Baltimore ECA sample from 1981 to 1995

Yehuda D. Neumark, Michelle L. Van Etten, James C. Anthony*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Scopus citations


Objective: Evidence is provided about the association between 'alcohol- use disorders' and the 14-year risk of death in a community sample. Most prior descriptions of this association come from treatment samples. Method: 3,481 adult household residents were recruited into the NIMB Baltimore Epidemiologic Catchment Area survey and interviewed in 1981. The Diagnostic Interview Schedule (DIS) was employed to assess alcohol drinking and other drug-taking behaviors, and to determine fulfillment of DSM-III criteria for 'alcohol abuse' and/or 'dependence' diagnoses. Participants were followed-up in 1993-1996, by which time 24% of the sample had died. Median age of death was estimated for persons with and without alcohol disorders, and for 'heavy' and 'nonheavy' drinkers. Cox proportional hazards models adjusted for the influence of age, sex, race, 'drug-use disorders,' and tobacco smoking. Results. 'Alcohol abuse' and/or 'dependence' was associated with a higher risk of death and a younger median age of death (adjusted relative risk= 1.3, p=.016). 'Heavy' alcohol consumption was also associated with a significantly elevated risk of death. The DIS diagnosis of 'alcohol use disorder' helped predict mortality over and above a prediction based solely upon 'heavy drinking' (p < .01). Conclusions: These findings indicate that the observed increased risk of death associated with 'alcohol dependence' is not limited to cases severe enough to have been treated but is also present among cases in the household population.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)533-549
Number of pages17
JournalSubstance Use and Misuse
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2000
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This research was supported by Training Grant DA07292 from the National Institute on Drug Abuse, NIDA Research Grant DA08199, and Research Grant MH47447 from the National Institute of Mental Health.


  • Alcohol dependence
  • ECA
  • Mortality


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