An investigation into the effect of alcohol consumption on health status and health care utilization in Ireland

Gillian Ormond, Rosemary Murphy

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    Abstract

    This paper presents a study of the effect of alcohol consumption on individual health status and health care utilization in Ireland using the 2007 Slán National Health and Lifestyle Survey, while accounting for the endogenous relationship between alcohol and health. Drinkers are categorized as those who never drank, non-drinkers, moderate drinkers, or heavy drinkers, based on national recommended weekly drinking levels in Ireland. The drinking-status equation is estimated using an ordered probit model. Predicted values for the inverse mills ratio are generated, which are then included in the health and health-care utilization equations. Differences in health status for each category of drinker are examined, and the relationship between both alcohol consumption and health with a host of other personal and socio-economic variables is also identified. Given that the measure of health status available is self-assessed, the effect of alcohol consumption on health-care utilization is also analyzed as an alternative measure of health. Findings show that in Ireland, moderate drinkers enjoy the best health status. More moderate drinkers report having very good or excellent health compared with heavy drinkers, non-drinkers, or those who never drank. While heavy drinkers do not report having as good a health status as moderate drinkers, they are better off in terms of health when compared with non-drinkers and those who are lifetime abstainers.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)53-67
    JournalAlcohol
    Volume59
    Publication statusPublished - 2017

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