Stressful life events and transitions in problematic alcohol use involvement among US adults

Carla L. Storr, Beth A. Reboussin, Kerry M. Green, Ramin Mojtabai, Ryoko Susukida, Andrea S. Young, Bernadette A. Cullen, Anika A.H. Alvanzo, Rosa M. Crum

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objective: We investigated the impact of stressful life events (SLEs) for males and females on transitions in problematic alcohol involvement, both progression and recovery, over a 3-year interval. Method: Participants of both Wave 1 (2001–2002) and Wave 2 (2004–2005) of the National Epidemiologic Survey on Alcohol and Related Conditions (NESARC) were stratified by sex (14,233 males and 19,550 females). Latent transition analysis estimated the impact of experiencing ≥3 SLE in the year preceding the Wave 1 interview on the probability of transitioning between three empirically-derived stages of alcohol involvement (patterns of alcohol use disorder [AUD] symptoms), across waves. Propensity score methods adjusted for confounding. Results: For males, three or more SLEs were associated with progression from the moderate to the severe problem stage (odds ratio [OR] = 2.23, 95% confidence interval [CI] = 1.17, 4.26). Among those in the severe problem stage, SLEs negatively impacted recovery regardless of sex. Employment/Financial SLEs were associated with a higher odds of transition from the moderate to the no problem stage (OR = 1.60, 95% CI = 1.03, 2.46) and lower odds of transitions from the severe to the moderate problem stage (OR = 0.40, 95% CI = 0.16, 0.99) among males, and from the severe to the no problem stage (OR = 0.26, 95% CI = 0.07, 0.88) among females. Conclusion: Stressful life events appear to affect transitions in alcohol involvement over time among those who already have alcohol problems, rather than impacting a transition among those without AUD problems.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2171-2180
Number of pages10
JournalSubstance Use and Misuse
Issue number14
StatePublished - 2021


  • Alcohol use disorder
  • latent class analysis
  • latent transition analysis
  • stressful life events

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Medicine (miscellaneous)


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