Observational longitudinal study.
Repatriated Norwegian adults who resided in areas affected by the 2004 Southeast Asia tsunami completed a questionnaire at 6 and 24 months postdisaster (N = 649).
Weekly alcohol consumption and frequency of intoxication did not change significantly from 6 to 24 months postdisaster at the population level: 18.3% (n = 116) increased their alcohol consumption while 21.1% (n = 125) showed a reduction.
Increased drinking was not predicted by severity of disaster exposure, post-traumatic stress, or measures of psychological functioning. Reduced alcohol consumption was predicted by younger age and social withdrawal, but not by any of the other study variables.
Our findings indicate that the tsunami experience had only minor effects on alcohol consumption, in contrast to some studies suggesting a relationship between trauma exposure and increased alcohol consumption.