Non-linear relationships between cognitive function and alcohol consumption in young, middle-aged and older adults: the PATH Through Life Project.


Journal Article

AIMS: To investigate associations, including non-linear relationships, between cognitive function and alcohol consumption, testing for moderating effects of age and gender and for differences across outcome measures. Design Cross-sectional general population samples of three age cohorts. Setting Canberra and Queanbeyan, Australia. PARTICIPANTS: The total sample of 7485 consisted of 2404 men and women aged 20-24 years, 2530 aged 40-44 years, and 2551 aged 60-64 years, selected from the electoral rolls. Measurements Self-report data using hand-held computers provided weekly alcohol consumption from the Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Test (AUDIT) frequency, quantity and binge-drinking items, and socio-demographic factors. Spot-the-Word, digits backwards, the Symbol-Digit Modalities Test (SDMT), immediate recall and reaction-time tests were conducted by trained interviewers. FINDINGS: Findings varied across dependent variables, but there was a general tendency for light drinkers (up to 20/10 g alcohol per day in men/women, respectively) to perform better than abstainers, occasional drinkers or those drinking at hazardous/harmful levels (>40/20 g per day in men/women). Poorer performance of hazardous/harmful drinkers was seen only in men, whereas that of abstainers was evident in both sexes but was stronger in women. After adjustment for education and race, male hazardous/harmful drinkers no longer performed significantly less well than light drinkers, whereas male and female abstainers and occasional drinkers still did so. CONCLUSIONS: Abstainers have poorer cognitive function than light drinkers and further investigation is needed to determine what factors contribute to this.

Full Text

Cited Authors

  • Rodgers, B; Windsor, TD; Anstey, KJ; Dear, KBG; F Jorm, A; Christensen, H

Published Date

  • September 2005

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 100 / 9

Start / End Page

  • 1280 - 1290

PubMed ID

  • 16128717

Pubmed Central ID

  • 16128717

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1360-0443

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 0965-2140

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1111/j.1360-0443.2005.01158.x


  • eng