As well as AUDIT-C, the Hackney resident health and wellbeing survey also asked a question about adult residents’ perceptions of their drinking habits.  Table 4 shows that, again, a large proportion say they do not drink in response to this question (38%), while one third perceive themselves to be ‘sensible’ drinkers (33%). However, there is a discrepancy between how Hackney residents perceive their own drinking behaviour and their corresponding AUDIT-C score.

Figure 6 compares perceived drinking behaviour to the AUDIT-C results derived from responses to this local survey. The data show that while just 14% of survey respondents perceived that they drink above safe limits, 27% were actually defined as higher risk drinkers according to the AUDIT-C scores.

Almost all respondents (91%) who reported that they ‘don’t drink to excess’ and two thirds (68%) of those who reported drinking ‘more or less within the limits of what is good for me’ were classified as high risk drinkers according to AUDIT-C.

Table 4: Perceptions of drinking behaviour among Hackney adult residents (age 16+, 2015)
Which of the following statements best describes your drinking habits?
I do not drink alcohol 38%
I am a sensible drinker and drink well within the accepted safe limits 33%
I drink more or less within the limits of what is good for me 13%
I don’t drink to excess, but I probably drink a little more than is really good for me 11%
I frequently drink quite a bit more than what is supposed to be ‘safe’ 3%

 

Source: Hackney resident health and wellbeing survey (2015)

Fourty-seven percent of people self-reported that they felt they drank within safe limits. Of people who had an AUDIT C test, thirty-three percent were classified as a low-risk drinker.
Figure 6: Perceptions of drinking behaviour among Hackney adult residents (age 16+, 2015)

Source: Hackney resident health and wellbeing survey (2015)

Notes: AUDIT-C based on a sub-sample size of 960

Data on the drinking behaviour of adults living locally are also available via GP records.  However, only half (52%) of GP patients age 15+ in Hackney and the City have an AUDIT-C score recorded.  Of these, a lower proportion are identified to be ‘high risk’ drinkers (19%) than in the Hackney resident health and wellbeing survey (27%).  While it is not possible to directly compare these results, based as they are on different population groups who responded to AUDIT-C questions in very different settings, this may suggest potential unmet need in terms of identification of increasing risk drinkers locally.