A community study of alcohol consumption in a rural area of South India

Rajeev A., Sherin B. Abraham, Thushara G. Reddy, Celin M. Skariah, Indiradevi E. R., Jacob Abraham


Background: Alcohol is reaping a socio-psychological cost from the lesser educated and poor of Kerala. Its prevalence varies from 33-50%, with the age of initiation decreasing recently. The type of liquor and the manner, in which it is consumed, make it a risk factor for many health hazards. This study aimed to find out the age at onset of the habit and the potential side effects in a rural population of Thiruvalla, Kerala, India.

Methods: A house to house survey of adult males was carried out using the alcohol use disorders identification test (AUDIT) questionnaire in Thiruvalla, Kerala. The age at initiation and potential health effects of the habit was inquired and the drinkers were grouped into 3 based on dose and frequency of drinking, in addition to the teetotalers.

Results: The sample studied was heavily dominated by the middle income, pre-university males. Prevalence of problem drinking was 12.8% across the age groups with the highest drinking prevalence in the age group under 40. AUDIT subscore adequately revealed the amount of drinking and extent of addiction. About 3/4th to 2/3rd regular drinkers suffered from adverse effects of drinking in the past. Only less than a third of occasional drinkers had these associated histories. Higher degrees of drinking were associated with lower incomes. Age at initiation influenced the extent of present drinking and the occurrence of adverse events.

Conclusions: The study points to the necessity of delaying the age of initiation of drinking among youngsters in Kerala. 


Alcohol, AUDIT, Community study, Kerala

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