The Frequency of Alcohol Use in Iranian Urban Population: The Results of a National Network Scale Up Survey

Document Type : Original Article


1 Emergency Medical Center, Ministry of Health and Medical Education, Tehran, Iran

2 HIV/STI Surveillance Research Center, and WHO Collaborating Center for HIV Surveillance, Institute for Futures Studies in Health, Kerman University of Medical Sciences, Kerman, Iran

3 Iran Helal Institute of Applied-Science and Technology, Tehran, Iran

4 Faculty of Behavioral Sciences and Mental Health, Iran University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran

5 Department of Community Medicine, Tehran Medical Branch, Islamic Azad University, Tehran, Iran

6 Modeling in Health Research Center, Institute for Futures Studies in Health, Kerman University of Medical Sciences, Kerman, Iran


In Islamic countries alcohol consumption is considered as against religious values. Therefore, estimation of frequency of alcohol consumptions using direct methods is prone to different biases. In this study, we indirectly estimated the frequency of alcohol use in Iran, in network of a representative sample using network scale up (NSU) method.
In a national survey, about 400 participants aged above 18 at each province, around 12 000 in total, were recruited. In a gender-match face to face interview, respondents were asked about the number of those who used alcohol (even one episode) in previous year in their active social network, classified by age and gender. The results were corrected for the level of visibility of alcohol consumption.
The relative frequency of alcohol use at least once in previous year, among general population aged above 15, was estimated at 2.31% (95% CI: 2.12%, 2.53%). The relative frequency among males was about 8 times higher than females (4.13% versus 0.56%). The relative frequency among those aged 18 to 30 was 3 times higher than those aged above 30 (3.97% versus 1.36%). The relative frequency among male aged 18 to 30 was about 7%.
It seems that the NSU is a feasible method to monitor the relative frequency of alcohol use in Iran, and possibly in countries with similar culture. Alcohol use was lower than non-Muslim countries, however, its relative frequency, in particular in young males, was noticeable.


Main Subjects

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  • Receive Date: 09 December 2015
  • Revise Date: 17 March 2016
  • Accept Date: 01 August 2016
  • First Publish Date: 01 February 2017