Alcohol use by persons with recent spinal cord injury

A. W. Heinemann, M. Keen, R. Donohue, S. Schnoll

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

59 Scopus citations


Detailed drinking histories, prevalence of alcohol abuse, and consequences of alcohol use were studied in 103 persons with recent spinal cord injury. Ninety-five percent of the sample acknowledged prior alcohol use. the mean weekday quantity of alcohol consumed was 5.9 drinks (SD = 4.7), with a range of one to 24 drinks per drinking episode during the six months before disability onset. The median frequency of alcohol use was one to two times per week. The sample's mean Michigan Alcoholism Screening Test (MAST) score was 6.8 (SD = 8.0), above the usual cutoff of 5.0, which is interpreted as indicating problematic alcohol use. Forty-nine percent of the sample had scores equal to or exceeding this cutoff. These results suggest that a significant number of individuals with recent spinal cord injuries have heavy drinking histories and experience behavioral problems resulting from alcohol use. The MAST proved to be an efficient method of assessing alcohol-related problems among those with recent spinal cord injuries. Finally, treatment and hospital policy implications are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)619-624
Number of pages6
JournalArchives of physical medicine and rehabilitation
Issue number8
StatePublished - 1988

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation
  • Rehabilitation


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