The association of depression and problem drinking: Analyses from the Baltimore ECA follow-up study

Rosa M. Crum, Clayton Brown, Kung Yee Liang, William W. Eaton

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

35 Scopus citations


In this study, we hypothesized that there would be an increased risk of greater alcohol consumption among depressed problem drinkers than those without depression in the prior year, and that the strength of this association would be stronger for women. As part of the Epidemiologic Catchment Area (ECA) program, probability samples of area residents were selected and the baseline interview for the Baltimore site was completed in 1981. Between 1993 and 1996, 73% of the survivors (n = 2633) were reinterviewed. For the 334 problem drinkers identified, the occurrence of a depressive episode and level of alcohol consumption for each intervening year between the baseline and follow-up interviews were assessed. Generalized estimating equations (GEE) were used for logistic regression analyses to examine the association between the occurrence of depression in the prior year with transition to higher-level drinking in the subsequent year. The problem drinkers tended to have a bimodal association of transitioning to higher-level drinking; although the strength of the association was greater for men. Future research will need to assess the potential influences on this relationship of other sociodemographic and psychopathologic characteristics, including the effect of treatment for depression or substance use.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)765-773
Number of pages9
JournalAddictive Behaviors
Issue number5
StatePublished - 2001


  • Alcohol
  • Comorbidity
  • Depression
  • Problem drinking
  • Risk

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Clinical Psychology
  • Toxicology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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