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Sunday, June 2, 2013

Who Is Not Drinking Less in Sweden? An Analysis of the Decline in Consumption for the Period 2004–2011

This study aimed to analyse if changes in drinking in Sweden have been similar in different population subgroups between 2004 and 2011, a period when per capita consumption declined significantly.

The analysis starts out from monthly alcohol survey data including 1500 telephone interviews every month. The population is divided into 20 equally large consumption groups separately for men and women and two broad age groups. Both absolute and relative changes in drinking are studied.

Most findings confirmed a collectivity of change in drinking: a decline was found at all consumption levels overall, among men and women, and among those under 50 years of age. The decline was smaller in groups with the highest consumption, and among those over 50 years consumption rather increased among the heaviest drinkers.

Support was obtained for the conception of a social component in recent consumption changes in Sweden. This finding has an important policy message in line with the total consumption model, namely that measures that reduce per capita consumption are likely to imply fewer heavy drinkers. Some exceptions from the collectivity theory that deserves attention in future studies were also noted, e.g. the development among heavier drinkers above 50 years of age.

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