Estimation of alcohol content of wine, beer and spirits to evaluate exposure risk in pregnancy: Pilot study using a questionnaire and pouring task in England

Raja Mukherjee, Elizabeth Wray, Leopold Curfs, Sheila Hollins

Abstract


Mukherjee, R., Wray, E., Curfs, L., & Hollins, S. (2013). Estimation of alcohol content of wine, beer and spirits to evaluate exposure risk in pregnancy: Pilot study using a questionnaire and pouring task in England. The International Journal Of Alcohol And Drug Research, 2(3), 71-78. doi:10.7895/ijadr.v2i3.78 (http://dx.doi.org/10.7895/ijadr.v2i3.78)

Aims:  Research has shown varying results regarding safe consumption levels of alcohol during pregnancy.  We argued in 2005 that an individual’s inability to accurately predict her alcohol consumption may be one factor influencing risk.  In order to re-evaluate within the England, this study sought to assess the current knowledge of the public and of healthcare practitioners.

Design:  Both alcohol-knowledge questionnaires and pouring tasks were conducted using standardised ethical-committee-approved methods.

Settings:  Different sites across England, including Surrey, London, Oxford and Wigan, where FASD support groups are based.

Participants:  Health professionals and the general public, self-selecting in response to advertisement.

Measurements:  Frequency data and categorical data was collected and analysed using SPSS version 18.

Findings:  In total, 1,265 questionnaires were completed (688 public and 577 professionals).  One hundred-forty people completed the pouring task.  People’s ability to calculate accurately from strength and volume was within 20% of the accurate figure for units, although with a wide range.

Conclusions:  These findings support the hypothesis that when pouring their own drinks, individuals are poor at estimating each drink’s alcohol content.  This has implications for public health strategies.  Glass size and the level of alcohol concentration have different implications in different countries.  For those drinking during pregnancy, however, the message that “no exposure is no risk” remains true.


Keywords


FASD; Alcohol; Knowledge; Pouring behaviour

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.7895/ijadr.v2i3.78

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