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Alcohol-attributable mortality before and during the early phases of the COVID-19 pandemic

Sumetsky, Natalie (2023) Alcohol-attributable mortality before and during the early phases of the COVID-19 pandemic. Doctoral Dissertation, University of Pittsburgh. (Unpublished)

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Excessive alcohol use is a leading preventable cause of death. During the COVID-19 pandemic, alcohol use patterns changed for many U.S. residents. In this dissertation, we used nationally representative, comprehensive mortality data to study both individual- and population-level temporal trends and correlates of multiple categories of alcohol-attributable mortality before and during the early phases of the pandemic.
In Aim 1, we assessed six mortality outcomes: chronic fully alcohol-attributable deaths, poisonings, motor vehicle accidents (MVAs), suicides, homicides, and falls. We performed descriptive and logistic regression analyses for adult decedents between 2017 and 2020. Compared to 2019, 2020 rates of chronic fully alcohol-attributable deaths, homicides, poisonings, and falls increased, while mortality due to MVAs and suicide decreased. Relative to dying by any other cause, the odds of death by chronic fully alcohol-attributable causes and poisonings were higher across 2020 vs. 2019.
In Aim 2, we assessed the same six alcohol-attributable mortality outcomes for 2019-2020 at the county level using Bayesian hierarchical spatial models. The year 2020 was positively associated with all outcomes except for suicides. In the spring of 2020, MVAs and suicides decreased above and beyond usual year and season effects. Higher county median household income was associated with reduced risk for most outcomes. Other effects differed by outcome (e.g., counties with greater proportions of older residents had increased risk for falls but decreased risk for most other outcomes).
In Aim 3, we investigated associations between substance use treatment facility densities and three categories of fully alcohol-attributable mortality: chronic fully alcohol-attributable causes, alcohol poisonings, and suicides by alcohol exposure. Greater county-level densities of treatment facilities were associated with increased risk for chronic alcohol-attributable mortality and poisonings. Estimates were similar for models run separately for 2019 and 2020, suggesting that the relationship between facility densities and alcohol-attributable mortality did not substantively change early in the pandemic.
Findings from this work describe both individual- and population-level correlates and temporal trends of multiple categories of alcohol-attributable mortality. In part, our findings can help reduce alcohol-attributable mortality by informing geographically specific public health interventions that account for each county’s specific characteristics and mortality risks.


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Item Type: University of Pittsburgh ETD
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Sumetsky, Natalienms77@pitt.edunms77
ETD Committee:
TitleMemberEmail AddressPitt UsernameORCID
Committee ChairMair, Christinacmair@pitt.educmair
Committee MemberMaria, Brooksmbrooks@pitt.edumbrooks
Committee MemberJeanine, Buchanichjeanine@pitt.edujeanine
Committee MemberBrooke, Molinamolinab@upmc.edumolinab
Date: 24 August 2023
Date Type: Publication
Defense Date: 20 July 2023
Approval Date: 24 August 2023
Submission Date: 7 August 2023
Access Restriction: 2 year -- Restrict access to University of Pittsburgh for a period of 2 years.
Number of Pages: 140
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: School of Public Health > Epidemiology
Degree: PhD - Doctor of Philosophy
Thesis Type: Doctoral Dissertation
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: alcohol-attributable mortality, spatial modeling
Date Deposited: 24 Aug 2023 13:25
Last Modified: 24 Aug 2023 13:25


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