A prospective study of the natural course of alcoholism in a Native American village

P. K. Leung, J. D. Kinzie, J. K. Boehnlein, J. H. Shore

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46 Scopus citations


This study examines the natural course of alcoholism in a Native American village. We found that the remission rates of alcoholism were quite similar despite the different methods used: life histories (SADS-L interview) showed a 63% remission rate; a 19-year follow-up prospective showed 60% in remission; and following a cohort of all those who developed alcoholism in the village over the previous 19 years revealed a 60.9% remission rate. The data also showed vast differences in drinking problems between men and women. In the span of 19 years, the differences of point prevalence rates of alcoholism between men and women have jumped from that of two times (52% vs 26%) to five times (36.4% vs 7%). Furthermore, the results showed women had a higher rate of alcohol abuse (8.4% vs 3.6%) and a far higher remission rate (82% vs 52%) when compared to men. Three-fourths of the men in the studied sample had a lifetime history of alcohol dependence. They usually began drinking in their teens and developed dependency by their early twenties. About half stopped after an average of 15 years of drinking. The majority (83%) of the subjects who stopped drinking did so spontaneously or for specific personal-related reasons rather than because they received alcohol treatment.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)733-738
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of studies on alcohol
Issue number6
StatePublished - 1993
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Psychology(all)


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