Comparison of self-reported alcohol use with the alcohol biomarker phosphatidylethanol among young people in northern Tanzania

A cross-sectional study of 202 young people

Abstract

Background: The one-month Time Line Follow Back calendar (TLFB) and the Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Test (AUDIT) are used to collect self-reported alcohol intake data. We compared these instruments with the alcohol biomarker phosphatidylethanol (PEth) among young-people in northern Tanzania.

Methods: AUDIT and TLFB were applied in a cross-sectional study of 202 young people (18–24 years), who reported using alcohol during the past year (103 male casual labourers; 99 college students). We assayed whole blood for PEth 16:0/18:1, using liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry.

Results: For both self-report methods, alcohol consumption was high, particularly among men (e.g. a median of 54 drinks per month in labourers), and about half of male students (48%) reported hazardous or harmful levels of drinking (AUDIT ≥8). Almost half (49%) of participants were PEth-positive (median concentration 0.03 μmol/L). There were significant positive correlations between reported total alcohol intake and PEth concentration in males (Spearman’s correlation rs = 0.65 in college students and rs = 0.57 in casual labourers; p 
Conclusion: TLFB and AUDIT are sensitive measures to detect heavy alcohol use among young-people in northern Tanzania. They can be used to identify young people who may benefit from alcohol-focused interventions.

Citation

Francis, J.M.; Weiss, H.A.; Helander, A.; Kapiga, S.H.; Changalucha, J.; Grosskurth, H. Comparison of self-reported alcohol use with the alcohol biomarker phosphatidylethanol among young people in northern Tanzania. Drug and Alcohol Dependence (2015) 156: 289-296. [DOI: 10.1016/j.drugalcdep.2015.09.027]

Comparison of self-reported alcohol use with the alcohol biomarker phosphatidylethanol among young people in northern Tanzania

Published 1 January 2015