Alcohol consumption and health-services utilization in Germany

Sebastian E. Baumeister*, Christian Meyer, Daisy Carreon, Jennis Freyer, Hans Jürgen Rumpf, Ulfert Hapke, Ulrich John, Dietrich Alte

*Corresponding author for this work
15 Citations (Scopus)


Objective: This study tests two hypotheses. The first is that a U-shaped or inverse linear association exists between alcohol consumption and health-services utilization. Although this relationship has been examined previously, conclusions have been inconsistent. Additional research is needed to explain why abstainers use more health services than drinkers. Our second hypothesis is that abstainers with a history of heavy drinking seek out more health services than those without heavy drinking histories. Method: Data were from two surveys conducted in Germany (N's = 4,268 [51% women] and 6,857 [52% women]). Alcohol consumption was assessed using a quantity-frequency measure. Results: Outpatient and inpatient services showed an inverse linear relation with alcohol consumption. Among abstainers, those with a drinking history exhibited a higher use of outpatient visits but were not more likely to have been hospitalized. Conclusions: This study supports the view that alcohol consumption is associated with decreased utilization of health services. Results provide some evidence for the hypothesis that former heavy drinkers have higher health-services utilization than either moderate drinkers or other abstainers.

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Studies on Alcohol
Issue number3
Pages (from-to)429-435
Number of pages7
Publication statusPublished - 05.2006

Research Areas and Centers

  • Academic Focus: Center for Brain, Behavior and Metabolism (CBBM)


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