Research has shown New Zealanders' drinking patterns are largely stable across peoples’ lifespan, with long periods of hazardous or non-hazardous drinking. Going from non-hazardous to hazardous drinking or vice versa was usually triggered by a single event such as unemployment, relationship breakdown or developing a chronic health condition.
Change from hazardous to non-hazardous drinking (or vice versa) was uncommon, and when it did occur, further transitions were unlikely. Unemployment between ages 20 and 40 and loss of a relationship between ages 30 and 50 increased the risk of changing from a non-hazardous to a hazardous drinker. Conversely, developing a chronic health condition before 50 years of age increased the likelihood of transitioning from hazardous to non-hazardous consumption.