Initial analysis of a representative national sample of noninstitutionalized adults indicated that veterans had over twice as high a prevalence of defined alcohol abuse than nonveterans (11% vs 5%). However, after controlling for demographic factors, there was a substantial reduction in this difference. For example, most veterans are men, and men have higher rates of alcoholism and alcohol problems than women. Thus, controlling for sex in this sample diminished the difference in the prevalence of defined alcohol abuse between veterans and nonveterans. In addition to the variable of sex-which was found to be the most important-age, income, education, and marital status also produced some degree of reduction in the different prevalence levels between veterans and nonveterans. Nevertheless, veterans who were over 35, less educated, and married had a significantly higher prevalence of alcohol abuse than nonveterans from similar backgrounds. The research clearly indicated that basic demographic variables were important in accounting for the higher prevalence of alcohol abuse among veterans, although they could not explain all of the difference. There was also a great deal of variation found between demographic groups. In many cases, the differences between demographic groups were greater than the original difference between veterans and nonveterans. Further research was recommended to clarify these initial findings. © 1979.
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