The Scottish Health Survey 2008

The Scottish Health Survey 2008

3 ALCOHOL CONSUMPTION - References and notes

1. Costs of Alcohol Use and Misuse in Scotland. Edinburgh: Scottish Government, 2008.

2. Alcohol Statistics Scotland 2009. Edinburgh: Information Services Division, 2009.

3. Changing Scotland's Relationship with Alcohol: A Framework for Action. Edinburgh: Scottish Government, 2009.

4. Leon, D.A. and McCambridge, J. (2006). Liver cirrhosis mortality rates in Britain from 1950 to 2002: an analysis of routine data. Lancet. Jan 7; 367 (9504), 52-6.

5. Changing Scotland's Relationship with Alcohol: A Discussion Paper on our Strategic Approach. Edinburgh: Scottish Government, 2008.

6. Mann, R.E., Smart, R.G. and Govoni, R. (2003). The epidemiology of alcoholic liver disease. Alcohol Research and Health. 27 (3), 209-19.

7. O'Keefe, J.H., Bybee, K.A. and Lavie, C.J. (2007). Alcohol and cardiovascular health: the razor-sharp double-edged sword. Journal of the American College of Cardiology. 50 (11),1009-14.

8. McDonald, S. et al (2009). Association of self-reported alcohol use and hospitalization for an alcohol-related cause in Scotland: a record-linkage study of 23,183 individuals. Addiction. 104, 593-602.

9. Alcohol Concern (2003). Factsheet 20: Binge Drinking. [online] Available from:

10. Plan for Action on Alcohol Problems. Edinburgh: Scottish Executive, 2002.

11. Plan for Action on Alcohol Problems: Update. Edinburgh: Scottish Executive, 2007.

12. Scottish Budget Spending Review 2007. Edinburgh: Scottish Government, 2007. [online] Available from: See also:

13. Better Health, Better Care Action Plan. Edinburgh: Scottish Government, 2007.

14. The HEAT targets derive their name from the four strands in the performance framework: the Health of the population; Efficiency and productivity, resources and workforce; Access to services and waiting times; and Treatment and quality of services

15. Catto, S. and Gibbs, D. (2008). How much are Scots really drinking? A review of data from Scotland's routine national surveys. Glasgow: NHS Health Scotland.

16. Goddard, E. (2007). Estimating alcohol consumption from survey data: updated method of converting volumes to units. National Statistics Methodological Series No. 37. Office for National Statistics.

17. Bromley, C., Corbett, J., Erens, B. and Moody, A., (2008). Scottish Health Survey 2003: Revised Alcohol Consumption Estimates. Edinburgh: Scottish Government.

18. For participants aged 16 and 17, details on alcohol consumption were collected as part of a special smoking and drinking self-completion questionnaire. Some 18 and 19 year olds also completed the self-completion if the interviewer felt it was appropriate. For all other adult participants, the information was collected as part of the face-to-face interview. The method of estimating consumption follows that used in the General Household Survey and Health Survey for England. For six types of alcoholic drink (normal strength beer/lager/cider/shandy, strong beer/lager/cider, spirits/liqueurs, fortified wines, wine, and alcoholic soft drinks), participants were asked about how often they had drunk each one in the past twelve months, and how much they had usually drunk on any one day. The amount given to the latter question was converted into units of alcohol, with a unit equal to half a pint of normal strength beer/lager/cider/alcoholic soft drink, a single measure of spirits, one glass of wine, or one small glass of fortified wine. A half pint of strong beer/lager/cider was equal to 1.5 units. The number of units was then multiplied by the frequency to give an estimate of weekly consumption of each type of drink. The frequency multipliers were:

Drinking frequency

Multiplying factor

Almost every day


5 or 6 times a week


3 or 4 times a week


Once or twice a week


Once or twice a month


One every couple months


Once or twice a year


The separate consumption figures for each type of drink were rounded to two decimal places and then added together to give an overall weekly consumption figure. The results were then banded, using the same bands as the ones used in the 1995 Scottish Health Survey and in all years of the Health Survey for England. The bandings for men are as follows:

1 Under 1 unit (less than or equal to 0.50 units)
2 1-10 units (over 0.50 units, but less than or equal to 10.00 units)
3 Over 10-21 units (over 10.00 units, but less than or equal to 21.00 units)
4 Over 21-35 units (over 21.00 units, but less than or equal to 35.00 units)
5 Over 35-50 units (over 35.00 units, but less than or equal to 50.00 units)
6 Over 50 (over 50.00 units)

The bands for women were similar, but with breaks at 7, 14, 21 and 35 units, instead of 10, 21, 35 and 50.

19. For example, surveys obtain lower levels of alcohol consumption than would be expected from sales of alcoholic drinks.

20. Fuller, E. (2008). Chapter 9: Alcohol consumption. In Craig, R. and Mindell, J. (eds) Health Survey for England 2006 - Volume 1: cardiovascular disease and risk factors in adults. Leeds: The Information Centre.

21. Detailed tables showing the impact of the changes on the 2003 data are available at:

22. World Health Organisation. The ICD-10 for Mental and Behavioural Disorders Clinical Descriptions and Diagnostic Guidelines. [online] Available from:

23. Erens, B. and Moody, A. (2005). Volume 2: Adult Health, Chapter 1: Alcohol consumption. In: Bromley, C., Sproston, K. and Shelton, N. (eds.). The Scottish Health Survey 2003. Edinburgh: The Scottish Executive.

Back to top