Social gradients in binge drinking and abstaining: trends in a cohort of British adults
Barbara J M H Jefferis1,
Orly Manor2 and
1 Centre for Paediatric Epidemiology and Biostatistics, Institute of Child Health, London, UK
2 School of Public Health & Community Medicine, Hebrew University, Jerusalem, Israel
Correspondence to: B J M H Jefferis Centre for Paediatric Epidemiology and Biostatistics, Institute of Child Health, 30 Guilford Street, London WC1N 1EH, UK; firstname.lastname@example.org
Objective: To investigate (1) social gradients in non-drinking and binge drinking, and (2) changes in social gradients in drinking with increasing age.
Methods: British men and women born during the same week in March 1958 were prospectively followed up to adulthood. The frequency and amount of alcohol use were recorded at age 23, 33 and 42 years. Abstainers "never" drank, binge drinkers consumed = >/10 units (men) and =>/7 units (women) per occasion.
Educational qualifications and occupation were reported at age 23 and 33 years. Logistic and repeated-measures models were used to investigate associations between social position and drinking status at single and multiple ages in adulthood.
Results: Less educated men and women had greater odds of being non-drinkers at each age in adulthood, with similar gradients at ages 23–42 years.
Less educated men had greater odds of binge drinking, and gradients did not change at ages 23–42 years.
Conclusions: Stable gradients in non-drinking and trends in gradients in binge drinking may reinforce alcohol-related health inequalities over time.