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Thursday, December 20, 2012

Socioeconomic Disadvantage and Indicators of Risky Alcohol-drinking Patterns

The purpose was to establish how the association between socioeconomic disadvantage and risky drinking depends on the indicator of risky alcohol-drinking patterns.

Alcohol-drinking Finnish men (n = 9316) and women (n = 11,888) aged 20–54 years at baseline participated in the Health and Social Support (HeSSup) postal survey in 1998. Socioeconomic disadvantage was measured by low educational level, history of previous unemployment among those currently employed, current unemployment, being on disability pension and history of experiencing financial hardships. Indicators of risky drinking were hazardous weekly intake (≥24 and ≥16 Finnish standard drinks for men and women, respectively), frequency of intoxications/drunkenness, hangovers and alcohol-induced pass-outs. The study participants were also followed up for 7 years for alcohol-specific hospitalizations and deaths.

Socioeconomic gradient in risky drinking was observed across all indicators of risky drinking, but the gradient was relatively larger in patterns of risky drinking representing high-intensity drinking occasions such as alcohol-induced hangovers and pass-outs. No marked gender differences were observed.

These results highlight the need to take into account the multidimensionality of risky alcohol-drinking patterns as a contributing factor in the socioeconomic gradient in alcohol use.                

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