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Journal Article


Thor S, Karlsson P, Landberg J. Alcohol Alcohol. 2019; ePub(ePub): ePub.


Department of Public Health Sciences, Stockholm University, Stockholm, Sweden.


(Copyright © 2019, Oxford University Press)






AIMS: The study aims to examine how socio-economic status (SES) among youth is related to binge-drinking and alcohol-related problems using three SES indicators: (i) SES of origin (parental education level), (ii) SES of the school environment (average parental education level at student's school) and (iii) SES of destination (academic orientation).

METHODS: Cross-sectional data on upper secondary students (n= 4448) in Sweden. Multilevel logistic and negative binomial regression were used to estimate the relationship between each SES indicator and binge-drinking and alcohol-related problems, respectively.

RESULTS: Only SES of destination was significantly associated with binge-drinking, with higher odds for students in vocational programmes (OR= 1.42, 95% CI= 1.13-1.80). For the second outcome, SES of destination (rr=1.25; 95%CI=1.08-1.45) and SES of the school environment (rr=1.19, 95% CI=1.02-1.39) indicated more alcohol-related problems in vocational programmes and in schools with lower-educated parents. After adjustment for drinking patterns, the relationship remained for SES of the school environment, but became non-significant for SES of destination.

CONCLUSION: Our results suggest that the SES gradient among youth is stronger for alcohol-related problems than for harmful drinking. By only focusing on SES differences in harmful alcohol use, researchers may underestimate the social inequalities in adverse alcohol-related outcomes among young people. Our findings also support the notion that the environment young people find themselves in matters for social inequalities in alcohol-related harm.

© The Author(s) 2019. Medical Council on Alcohol and Oxford University Press. All rights reserved.

Language: en


adolescents; alcohol; alcohol-related problems; socio-economic status


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