Alcohol Use Trajectories among Adults in an Urban Area after a Disaster: Evidence from a Population-Based Cohort Study

Magdalena Cerda, University of Michigan
David Vlahov, The New York Academy of Medicine

Alcohol use increased in New York City (NYC) in the first months after the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. We used a population-based cohort to investigate alcohol use trajectories in NYC for three years after September 11, and to examine the relative contribution of acute exposure to the attacks and ongoing stressors to these trajectories. We recruited 2,752 participants through a random digit dial telephone survey in 2002; participants completed three follow-up interviews over 30 months. We used growth mixture models to assess trajectories in alcohol use. We identified four trajectories of alcohol use and five trajectories of levels of alcohol use. Predictors of higher levels of use over time included ongoing stressors, peri-event emotional reactions to the attacks, and higher socioeconomic status. Ongoing exposure to stressors plays a central role in alcohol use trajectories consistent with greater use, while the impact of point-in-time mass traumatic events subsides over time.

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Presented in Poster Session 2