Temporal trends and socioeconomic differences in alcohol use and drunkenness among Swedish adolescents
Abstract: This study examined temporal trends and socioeconomic differences in alcohol use and drunkenness among Swedish 15-year-old students between 2001/02 and 2017/18. Data were obtained from the Health Behaviour in School-aged Children (HBSC) study conducted in 2001/02, 2005/06, 2009/10, 2013/14 and 2017/18 (n ≈ 1500/year). Socioeconomic status (SES) was measured using two alternative indicators: educational aspirations and family affluence. Logistic regression models were used to investigate the relationships between drinking measures and SES indicators. The results showed a significant decline in alcohol use and drunkenness among Swedish 15-year-old students from 2001/02 to 2017/18. Educational aspirations almost consistently statistically negatively predicted regular alcohol use and drunkenness. Family affluence only had a weak effect on adolescent drinking behavior with a tendency for less affluent students reporting less alcohol use and drunkenness. Trend analyzes within the subgroups indicated that the downward trend was mirrored in all SES groups, but it was not equally steep in all groups. The decrease was generally weaker among students with lower educational aspirations but stronger among students from less affluent families. This study suggests that different aspects of SES may influence adolescent drinking in opposing directions. In future efforts aimed at reducing alcohol use and drunkenness among adolescents, students with lower educational aspirations should be the target population.
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