Specht, S., Schwarzkopf, L., Braun-Michl, B., Seitz, N.-N., Wildner, M., Kraus, L.

Age, period, and cohort effects on trends in outpatient addiction care utilization in the general Berlin population from 2008 to 2016


BMC Public Health, 22(1), 320. doi: 10.1186/s12889-022-12744-6

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The aim of this study was to decompose independent effects of age, period, and cohort on trends in outpatient addiction care utilization resulting from alcohol (AUD) and illicit substances use disorders (ISUD). Decomposing trends in addiction care utilization into their independent effects by age, period, and cohort may lead to a better understanding of utilization patterns.

Individuals seeking help in Berlin outpatient addiction care facilities between 2008 and 2016 with an age range of 18–81 years for AUD (n = 46,706) and 18–70 years for ISUD (n = 51,113) were standardized to the general Berlin population using data from the German Federal Statistical Office. Classification of utilization as AUD- (F10) or ISUD-related (F11, F12, F14, F15, F16, F18, F19) help-seeking was based on primary diagnoses according to the International Statistical Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems. Age was measured in years and period as year of data collection. Cohort was defined as the mathematical difference between period and age. Age, period, and cohort analyses were conducted using the intrinsic estimator model on AUD- and ISUD-related outpatient addiction care utilization.

Age effects on AUD-related utilization were highest in 18- to 19-year-old and in 39- to 59-year-old individuals. ISUD-related utilization declined almost continuously with increasing age. Period effects on AUD- and ISUD-related utilization were small. AUD-related utilization was highest in cohorts born from 1951 to 1986. ISUD-related utilization increased in cohorts born between 1954 and 1973 where utilization peaked, followed by a decline of the same order.

Age and cohort effects were the strongest drivers of trends in AUD- and ISUD-related outpatient addiction care utilization. Onset of help-seeking in earlier phases of AUD development should be enhanced as well as help-seeking for AUD and ISUD in general. The highest cohort-related rates in the baby boomer and following cohorts for AUD and ISUD underline an increased demand for addiction care.


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