This article reviews changes in drinking patterns in the general U.S. population since the first appearance of the Quarterly Journal of Studies on Alcohol in June 1940.
Contents of the three iterations of the journal (Quarterly Journal of Studies on Alcohol, Journal of Studies on Alcohol, and Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs) were reviewed along with additional prominent key articles on the subject known to the author.
Early articles in the field tended to focus on alcoholics and alcoholism, usually with a biological emphasis. The earliest “scientific investigation” of drinking patterns that appeared in iterations of JSAD reported data based on a survey in 1946, and the earliest report of trends in drinking patterns compared the 1946 data with data from 1963. Since then, there have been numerous evaluations of drinking patterns in the general U.S. population.
There have been major changes over the past 75 years in the manner in which drinking patterns are measured and summarized. Perhaps the biggest change was the introduction of probability sampling. Additional major changes continue to occur, responding to technological changes (e.g., the use of computers, cell phones, and broadband connections) in how people interact with their environment.