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Correspondence
August 2012

Alcohol Use Does Not Equal Abuse

Author Affiliations

Author Affiliations: Department of Surgery, Northwestern University, Chicago, Illinois (Dr Crandall); and Division of Transplant Surgery, Saint Louis University, Missouri (Dr Tuttle-Newhall).

Arch Surg. 2012;147(8):785-786. doi:10.1001/archsurg.2012.1272

We read with interest the article by Oreskovich et al,1 “Prevalence of Alcohol Use Disorders Among American Surgeons,” and we appreciate the opportunity to comment on this important topic. We commend the authors for addressing the important topics of stress, burnout, and alcohol abuse among physicians; however, the methodological flaws of their study limit the ability to draw definitive conclusions from the data. Oreskovich et al1 used data from a cross-sectional survey of members of the American College of Surgeons to assert that alcohol abuse and dependence are a significant problem among US surgeons. First, as was noted in the editorial commentary by Livingston and Wislar,2 the survey response rate of 28.7% is less than half of the minimum standard (>60% response rate) held by most biomedical journals to limit or minimize bias.

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