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Can student health professionals accurately estimate alcohol content in commonly occurring drinks?

Can student health professionals accurately estimate alcohol content in commonly occurring drinks?
Can student health professionals accurately estimate alcohol content in commonly occurring drinks?


Objectives: Correct identification of alcohol as a contributor to, or comorbidity of, many psychiatric diseases requires health professionals to be competent and confident to take an accurate alcohol history. Being able to estimate (or calculate) the alcohol content in commonly consumed drinks is a prerequisite for quantifying levels of alcohol consumption. The aim of this study was to assess this ability in medical and nursing students.

Methods: A cross-sectional survey of 891 medical and nursing students across different years of training was conducted. Students were asked the alcohol content of 10 different alcoholic drinks by seeing a slide of the drink (with picture, volume and percentage of alcohol by volume) for 30 s.

Results: Overall, the mean number of correctly estimated drinks (out of the 10 tested) was 2.4, increasing to just over 3 if a 10% margin of error was used. Wine and premium strength beers were underestimated by over 50% of students. Those who drank alcohol themselves, or who were further on in their clinical training, did better on the task, but overall the levels remained low.

Conclusions: Knowledge of, or the ability to work out, the alcohol content of commonly consumed drinks is poor, and further research is needed to understand the reasons for this and the impact this may have on the likelihood to undertake screening or initiate treatment.
2045-1253
256-262
Sinclair, Julia
be3e54d5-c6da-4950-b0ba-3cb8cdcab13c
Searle, Emma
680eb358-523f-4e1c-951d-44a73eaa53b8
Sinclair, Julia
be3e54d5-c6da-4950-b0ba-3cb8cdcab13c
Searle, Emma
680eb358-523f-4e1c-951d-44a73eaa53b8

Sinclair, Julia and Searle, Emma (2016) Can student health professionals accurately estimate alcohol content in commonly occurring drinks? Therapeutic Advances in Psychopharmacology, 6 (4), 256-262. (doi:10.1177/2045125316645988).

Record type: Article

Abstract



Objectives: Correct identification of alcohol as a contributor to, or comorbidity of, many psychiatric diseases requires health professionals to be competent and confident to take an accurate alcohol history. Being able to estimate (or calculate) the alcohol content in commonly consumed drinks is a prerequisite for quantifying levels of alcohol consumption. The aim of this study was to assess this ability in medical and nursing students.

Methods: A cross-sectional survey of 891 medical and nursing students across different years of training was conducted. Students were asked the alcohol content of 10 different alcoholic drinks by seeing a slide of the drink (with picture, volume and percentage of alcohol by volume) for 30 s.

Results: Overall, the mean number of correctly estimated drinks (out of the 10 tested) was 2.4, increasing to just over 3 if a 10% margin of error was used. Wine and premium strength beers were underestimated by over 50% of students. Those who drank alcohol themselves, or who were further on in their clinical training, did better on the task, but overall the levels remained low.

Conclusions: Knowledge of, or the ability to work out, the alcohol content of commonly consumed drinks is poor, and further research is needed to understand the reasons for this and the impact this may have on the likelihood to undertake screening or initiate treatment.

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More information

Accepted/In Press date: 16 May 2016
e-pub ahead of print date: 16 May 2016
Published date: 1 August 2016
Organisations: Clinical & Experimental Sciences

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 394706
URI: https://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/394706
ISSN: 2045-1253
PURE UUID: 5fe0e075-7d42-4f0a-85dd-960c869cba68
ORCID for Julia Sinclair: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0002-1905-2025

Catalogue record

Date deposited: 23 May 2016 13:47
Last modified: 06 Jun 2018 13:01

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