Detailing the Associations between Nondrinkers and Mortality
Richard G. Rogers, University of Colorado at Boulder
Richard Miech, University of Colorado at Denver
Robert Kemp, University of Colorado at Boulder
Elizabeth Lawrence, University of Colorado at Boulder
People who abstain from alcohol completely are at an increased risk for death, and the reasons for this remain largely unexplained. We examine whether variation in the reasons for abstaining from drinking explain their increased mortality relative to light-to-moderate drinkers. We use a large nationally representative data set and multivariate analyses to focus on the extensive and diverse set of reasons individuals provide for abstaining from drinking and their associations with mortality. We find that some groups of abstainers, including ardent prosocial abstainers exhibit the same or lower risks of death than light drinkers. A more complete understanding of the relationship between alcohol consumption and mortality will contribute to better social policies to reduce or prevent alcohol abuse and to increase health and lengthen life.