Population Patterns in Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Test (Audit) Scores in the Australian Population; 2007–2016
Despite widespread use of the Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Test (AUDIT), there are no published contemporary population‐level scores for Australia. The study examined population‐level AUDIT scores and heavy alcohol use for Australia over the period 2007–2016.
Total population, age‐ and gender‐specific AUDIT scores, and the percentage of the population with an AUDIT score of 8 or more (indicating heavy alcohol use), were derived from four waves of the nationally representative National Drug Strategy Household Survey, weighted to approximate the Australian population.
In 2016, the mean AUDIT score was 4.58, and 22.22% of the population scored ≥8. Both measures remained stable from 2007 to 2010 but declined in 2013 and 2016. Scores were highest in those aged 18–24 years, the lowest in those aged 14–17 or 60+. A downward trend in AUDIT scores was seen in younger age groups, while the 40–59 and 60+ groups increased or did not change.
Despite an overall decline in AUDIT scores, nearly one‐quarter of Australians reported heavy alcohol use.
Implications for public health
The marked declines in heavy alcohol use among young people are positive, but trends observed among those aged 40–59 and 60+ years suggests targeted interventions for older Australians are needed.