It has long been reported that moderate drinking improves quality of life. People who drink in moderation tend to have higher quality of life scores than abstainers. But which comes first? Does moderate drinking cause higher quality of life? Or does higher quality of life lead to moderate drinking?
That’s the question researchers explored. Their data came from the Nurses’ Health Study II. That study provides very good and repeated measures of both drinking and quality of life. Both physical and mental aspects of quality of life were measured.
Subjects in the Nurses’ Study were examined repeatedly for the effects of drinking on subsequent quality of life. The same was true for the effects of given measure of quality of life on later drinking.
The major finding was that alcohol consumption is positively associated with later physical quality of life among women. The poorest later life quality was found among both non-drinkers and former drinkers. But good quality of life also promoted drinking.
So, drinking improves quality of life. This is consistent with earlier research by others. That research found that male non-drinkers who began to drink enjoyed greater health and longevity.
There was little relation found between alcohol and mental aspects of life quality.
Schrieks I.C., et al. Bidirectional associations between alcohol consumption and health-related quality of life amongst young and middle-aged women. J Intern Med, 2015, pre-publication. doi:10.1111/joim.12453.
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