acute drinking, alcohol consumption, emergency department, injured patients, motivation to change



  1. Trinks, Anna MSc
  2. Festin, Karin PhD
  3. Bendtsen, Preben PhD
  4. Cherpitel, Cheryl J. DrPH
  5. Nilsen, Per PhD


Abstract: Injuries constitute a major public health problem. Millions of people are injured each year, and acute drinking is a well-known risk factor for injuries. Research suggests that acknowledgment of alcohol as a factor in an injury enhances willingness to change drinking behavior, possibly because the patient becomes aware of the negative consequences of their drinking. This study aims to investigate the prevalence of acute alcohol consumption (drinking before the event) among injury patients and to examine the importance of factors potentially associated with motivation to reduce alcohol consumption among these patients. All patients aged 18-69 years were requested to answer alcohol-related questions on a touchscreen computer. Fifteen percent of injured patients were categorized as acute drinkers, and of these, 64% reported that their injury was connected to alcohol. There were significant differences for all sociodemographic and drinking characteristics between acute drinkers and nonacute drinkers. Acute drinkers were categorized as risky drinkers to a much higher extent than nonacute drinkers. Acute drinkers had a considerably higher average weekly alcohol consumption and engaged far more frequently in heavy episodic drinking than nonacute drinkers. Acute drinkers were motivated to reduce their alcohol intake to a greater extent than nonacute drinkers; 51% were in the action, preparation, and contemplation stages, compared with 19% of the nonacute drinkers. Acute drinkers had considerably more detrimental alcohol consumption than nonacute drinkers, and the acute drinkers were more motivated to reduce their drinking than the nonacute drinkers.