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Thursday, January 24, 2013

Opposite social gradient for alcohol use and misuse among French adolescents

This study investigates the association of the family occupational category (F-OC) with adolescent alcohol use and its potential variation according to the frequency of use.

A national survey representative of adolescents aged 17 living in continental France conducted in 2005 (n = 29,393). Three outcomes were considered: overall use describes the drinking status (lifetime abstinence, use before the month prior the survey, use in the month prior the survey) without considering the frequency of use; last month use and binge drinking detail the frequency of use (1–5 uses, 6–9, 10–19 and 20+ uses) and of binge drinking (0, 1–2, 3–5, 6+ episodes of 5+ glasses in a single occasion) of the previous month users. F-OC was described in 7 categories based on the highest occupational category of the parents (from managers/professionals to unemployed). Analysis used generalised logistic regressions, controlling for gender, F-OC, parental separation, autonomy, other substance use, being out of school and sociability.

There was a double gradient: adolescents from high F-OC families were more often experimenters and drinkers during the previous month whereas those of low F-OC families were more often binge drinkers. Adolescents from farmers’ families were the most at risk for frequent use and binge drinking in the last month. Interactions tests show that the effect of F-OC was not significantly related to gender.

Except for gender, adolescents’ patterns of use reflect those observed in the adult population. Mechanisms that favour and hinder progression in alcohol use should be studied in various socioeconomic groups.

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