When questioned, the study participants reported their alcohol intake during the previous week and the last year. This included the frequency of drinking, in particular whether there were periods of binge drinking.
The study participants were also assessed for clinical depression.
Binge drinking had a stronger link with depression in women, but moderate drinking was not likely to increase the risk of depression in either sex.
The researchers believe that the results show that women suffering from clinical depression drink to resolve their depression, rather than binge drinking being a cause of depression. They believe that some depressed women become entrapped in a ‘vicious circle’ of drinking and depression.
The authors of the study highlight that the association between drinking and depression is a complex issue and requires further investigation.