Title

Attributions of Injury to Alcohol Involvement in Young Adults Seriously Injured in Alcohol-Related Motor Vehicle Crashes

Document Type

Article

Publication Date

1-2000

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Approximately 40% of all traffic fatalities are associated with the use of alcohol. Hospitalization for serious injury after a motor vehicle crash related to use of alcohol may be an opportunity to change drinking behaviors in non-alcohol-dependent drinkers, thereby reducing the risk for future disability and death.

OBJECTIVES:

To determine the degree to which non-alcohol-dependent adults aged 18 to 45 years with alcohol-related vehicular trauma attributed their injury to use of alcohol.

METHODS:

During hospitalization, 132 subjects involved in alcohol-related motor vehicle crashes were interviewed. The interviews included the question, "To what extent do you believe your alcohol consumption was responsible for this injury?" Responses were measured on a 7-point scale ranging from 1 (not at all) to 7 (totally).

RESULTS:

In response to the question about attribution of injury to alcohol, 37.8% of subjects responded "not at all," 24.3 responded "somewhat," and 37.9% responded "mostly" or "totally." Spearman rank correlation between attribution of injury to alcohol involvement and blood alcohol content at admission was r = 0.440 (P < .001).

CONCLUSIONS:

More than 60% of patients injured in alcohol-related motor vehicle crashes attributed their injury partly or totally to use of alcohol. When alcohol-free, hospitalized patients with higher blood levels of alcohol on admission were more likely than those with lower levels to attribute their injury to alcohol. Hospitalization for a motor vehicle crash related to use of alcohol provides an opportunity for interventions to decrease drinking.