Predictors of the 2-year recurrence and persistence of alcohol dependence

Lynn Boschloo, Nicole Vogelzangs, Wim van den Brink, Johannes H Smit, Aartjan T F Beekman, Brenda W J H Penninx

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

60 Citations (Scopus)


AIMS: To identify independent risk factors of the recurrence of alcohol dependence (AD) in people with a remitted disorder at baseline and persistence of AD in people with a current disorder at baseline.

DESIGN: Prospective cohort study with assessments at baseline and 2-year follow-up.

SETTING: Recruitment from the general population, primary care and out-patient mental health-care services.

PARTICIPANTS: People with remitted AD (n = 253) and current AD (n = 135).

MEASUREMENTS: Recurrence and persistence of AD during 2-year follow-up were established using the Composite International Diagnostic Interview (CIDI) interview based on DSM-IV. Logistic regression analyses were performed to explore the role of potential risk factors (i.e. baseline severity of alcohol problems, measures for depression and anxiety, socio-demographics, vulnerability factors and addiction-related factors) as independent predictors of a negative course.

FINDINGS: Overall recurrence and persistence rates of AD were 14.6 and 40.7%, respectively, and were highly conditional on the severity of alcohol problems [adjusted odds ratio (OR) per standard deviation (SD) increase: OR = 3.64, 95% confidence interval (CI): 2.21-6.01 and OR = 2.12, 95% CI: 1.32-3.40, respectively). Severity of depressive/anxiety symptoms was an additional independent predictor of the recurrence of AD, whereas male gender and high education were significant independent risk factors of the persistence of AD.

CONCLUSIONS: Alcohol dependence has a dynamic course, with only moderate levels of diagnostic stability. Both recurrence and persistence of alcohol dependence are highly dependent on severity of baseline alcohol problems, whereas severity of depressive/anxiety symptoms predicts only the recurrence of alcohol dependence. Both measures may be useful in identifying people at an increased risk of a negative course and who could be targeted by prevention strategies.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1639-40
Number of pages2
Issue number9
Early online date28 Feb 2012
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2012


  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Alcoholism/epidemiology
  • Anxiety Disorders/epidemiology
  • Chronic Disease
  • Depressive Disorder/epidemiology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Netherlands/epidemiology
  • Prospective Studies
  • Recurrence
  • Risk Assessment
  • Risk Factors
  • Young Adult

Cite this