Aims: This paper examines: (a) change over time (2001-2013) in recently reducing or ceasing drinking in the Australian population and (b) the reasons given for reducing or ceasing drinking in the most recent survey (2013); stratified by sex and age group. Short summary: Rates of reducing and ceasing drinking increased between 2001 and 2013 in Australia. Young people were more likely to modify drinking due to lifestyle and enjoyment reasons; older groups were more likely to report health reasons. These trends contribute to the broader context of declining alcohol consumption in Australia. Methods: Data are from five waves of the National Drug Strategy Household Survey (N = 119,397). Logistic regression models with interaction terms were used to identify a shift in sex or age over time in predicting reduction or cessation of drinking and to predict motivations for reducing or ceasing drinking by sex and age. Results: Reports of recently reducing the quantity or frequency of drinking increased from 2001 to 2007 and remained stable between 2007 and 2013. There was a steady increase in the number of Australians reporting recently ceasing drinking from 2001 to 2013, with a significant effect for age (younger groups more likely than older groups to cease drinking in the past two waves). Reasons for reducing or ceasing drinking varied by age, with older people more likely to report health reasons and younger people more likely to report lifestyle reasons or enjoyment. Conclusion: Increases over time in reports of reduction or cessation of drinking due to health, lifestyle, social and enjoyment reasons suggest that the social position of alcohol in Australia may be shifting, particularly among young people.
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