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June 29, 1970

American Drinking Practices: A National Study of Drinking Behavior and Attitudes

Author Affiliations

Washington University St. Louis

JAMA. 1970;212(13):2268-2269. doi:10.1001/jama.1970.03170260064028

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To drink is a Christian diversion Unknown to the Turk or the Persian

—CONGREVE (1714)

With this quotation Cahalan et al (1969) agree, but go further. They tell us how many Christians drink, which Christians drink the most (Episcopalians), which the least (Baptists), what they drink, when they drink, whom they drink with, and literally hundreds of other things about drinking and Christians (as well as non-Christians) that Congreve neglected to go into. Turks and Persians are not mentioned, but since the book is about American drinkers, it can not be faulted on this score.

Nor on any other score that matters. The book is a gem. It describes the most ambitious study of its kind —a survey of American drinking practices involving personal interviews with 2,746 adults conducted by more than 100 trained interviewers. The methodology was impeccable, utilizing a probability sample drawn randomly from 100 sampling areas, as