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Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Lifecourse Socioeconomic Position and Alcohol Use in Young Adulthood: Results from the French TEMPO Cohort Study

The aim of the study was to examine the relationship between lifetime socioeconomic position and alcohol use in young adults.

The participants (n = 1103, age 22–35 years in 2009) were the French TEMPO cohort, offspring of employees (all French nationals) of the French national gas and electricity company (GAZEL) who were in a previous cohort study. Alcohol use was assessed by the WHO AUDIT questionnaire (none, low or intermediate alcohol use, alcohol abuse). Childhood socioeconomic position was measured using parental income documented in the GAZEL study in 1989 (low: ≤2592€/month vs. intermediate/high: >2592€/month). Adult socioeconomic position was measured by participants' educational level (≤high school degree vs. >high school degree). Combining family income and educational attainment, we ascertained participants' social trajectory (stable high, upward, downward and stable low). Data were analyzed using multinomial regression analyses controlled for demographic, social, psychological and family characteristics. 

Compared with participants with a stable high social trajectory, those with an upward, downward or low social trajectory were more likely to abstain from alcohol (compared with a stable high social trajectory, sex and age-adjusted ORs: OR = 2.22, 95% CI 1.35–3.65 for an upward social trajectory; OR = 3.20, 95% CI 1.78–5.73 for a downward social trajectory; OR = 3.27, 95% CI 1.75–6.12 for a stable low social trajectory). Additionally, participants with a downward social trajectory were disproportionately likely to abuse alcohol (sex- and age-adjusted OR: 1.48, 95% CI 0.89–2.48). In multivariate analyses, social trajectory remained associated with alcohol use. 

Lifelong socioeconomic position may shape patterns of alcohol use early in life.

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