Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Doctors' own alcohol consumption colors advice to patients

Date:
November 2, 2011
Source:
University of Gothenburg
Summary:
Doctors who drink more themselves are more liberal in their advice to patients on alcohol consumption. They set higher thresholds for what is harmful, and while men who are heavy drinkers get to continue drinking, women are often advised to stop altogether, reveals new research.

Doctors who drink more themselves are more liberal in their advice to patients on alcohol consumption. They set higher thresholds for what is harmful, and while men who are heavy drinkers get to continue drinking, women are often advised to stop altogether, reveals a thesis from the Sahlgrenska Academy at the University of Gothenburg, Sweden.

Researchers at the University of Gothenburg's Sahlgrenska Academy have for the first time looked into how family doctors' own drinking habits affect their advice to patients. The study, which took the form of a questionnaire for doctors in the county of Skaraborg, revealed that those who drink larger amounts set significantly higher limits for harmful levels of consumption than those who are teetotalars or drink little.

Gender plays a role

Gender also plays a role in the advice doctors give. Where men and women present with the same health problem and consume comparable amounts of alcohol, male heavy drinkers are often advised to cut down on their drinking, while female heavy drinkers are urged to stop drinking altogether.

Men less likely to be referred for treatment

Heavy drinkers are also much less likely to be referred for treatment if they are men than if they are women -- especially if the doctor is a man.

"Doctors who drink more have a more liberal view of alcohol, but their attitude is also coloured by high consumption among men being the social norm," says Magnus Geirsson, doctoral student at the Unit of Social Medicine at the Sahlgrenska Academy and himself a family doctor in Skaraborg.

More training, higher limits

Doctors' alcohol training also plays a role, but perhaps not as one might expect. Nine out of ten doctors in the study set the limit for safe alcohol consumption below the Swedish National Institute of Public Health (FHI) recommendations of 14 units for men and nine for women. Interestingly, doctors who had the most alcohol-related training and considered themselves knowledgeable in the area set higher limits, but they were still below the FHI recommendations.

Government project made no change

"This may be because doctors feel that the FHI sets the limits too high, but it could also be that doctors who feel less confident in this area prefer to be more cautious," says Geirsson.

His thesis also shows that the training activities carried out as part of the government's five-year Risk Drinking Project, which aimed to make alcohol-related issues a natural part of health care, have porobably not led to the desired effects of increasing the numbers of patients being adviced on alcohol, in spite of a considerable increase in the numbers of GPs and nurses that consider themselves to be more skilled in giving such advice.

The thesis "Alcohol prevention in Swedish primary health care. Staff knowledge about risky drinking and attitudes towards working with brief alcohol intervention. Where do we go from here?" was successfully defended on 7 October.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Gothenburg. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University of Gothenburg. "Doctors' own alcohol consumption colors advice to patients." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 2 November 2011. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/10/111031132055.htm>.
University of Gothenburg. (2011, November 2). Doctors' own alcohol consumption colors advice to patients. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 17, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/10/111031132055.htm
University of Gothenburg. "Doctors' own alcohol consumption colors advice to patients." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/10/111031132055.htm (accessed April 17, 2014).

Share This



More Mind & Brain News

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Is Apathy A Sign Of A Shrinking Brain?

Is Apathy A Sign Of A Shrinking Brain?

Newsy (Apr. 17, 2014) A recent study links apathetic feelings to a smaller brain. Researchers say the results indicate a need for apathy screening for at-risk seniors. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Are School Dress Codes Too Strict?

Are School Dress Codes Too Strict?

AP (Apr. 16, 2014) Pushing the limits on style and self-expression is a rite of passage for teens and even younger kids. How far should schools go with their dress codes? The courts have sided with schools in an era when school safety is paramount. (April 16) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Could Even Casual Marijuana Use Alter Your Brain?

Could Even Casual Marijuana Use Alter Your Brain?

Newsy (Apr. 16, 2014) A new study conducted by researchers at Northwestern and Harvard suggests even casual marijuana use can alter your brain. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Couples Who Sleep Less Than An Inch Apart Might Be Happiest

Couples Who Sleep Less Than An Inch Apart Might Be Happiest

Newsy (Apr. 16, 2014) A new study by British researchers suggests couples' sleeping positions might reflect their happiness. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins