Methods: HCV patients (N=349) who saw a GI specialist at an urban Midwest teaching hospital were interviewed over the telephone. Patients answered questions about their alcohol use, healthcare behaviors, psychological traits, and coping styles. All patients were asked if they had been told by a physician to never drink. Standard clinical practice at this hospital is for all GI specialists to advise HCV patients to never drink alcohol. We assume that all patients in the sample were told by a physician to never drink. The dependent variable for the logistic regression was Did a physician tell you to never drink alcohol? (yes/no).
Results: Sixty-eight percent (95% CI, 63-73) of the patients reported a physician told them to never drink. Males (OR=.46, p=.01) and patients with lower incomes (OR=.19, p=.01) were more likely to report being told to never drink. Likewise, individuals scoring higher on a neuroticism scale (OR=1.11, p=.04) and those who take a planful approach to coping (OR=1.14, p=.02) were more likely to report being told to never drink. Future analyses will examine the conditional effects of gender and race.
Conclusions: Socio-demographic and psychological differences are associated with patients' reports about abstaining from alcohol. Physicians need to be sensitive to these differences to equip their patients with the knowledge needed to make the best decision about their alcohol use. To achieve this goal, we will need to examine various ways to present the same message to different types of patients.