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Alcohol and Alcoholism
Year: 2009  |  Volume: 44  |  Issue: 3  |  Page No.: 332 - 336

Alcohol Consumption Behaviours and Social Mobility in Men and Women of the Midspan Family Study

C. L Hart, G. D Smith, M. N Upton and G. C. M. Watt    


Aims: The aim of this study was to investigate relationships between alcohol consumption and social mobility in a cohort study in Scotland. Methods: 1040 sons and 1298 daughters aged 30–59 from 1477 families reported their alcohol consumption from which was derived: weekly units (1 UK unit being 8 g ethanol), exceeding daily or weekly limits, binge drinking and consuming alcohol on 5+ days per week. Own and father's social class were available enabling social mobility to be investigated. Results: More downwardly mobile men exceeded the weekly limit, the daily limit, were defined as binge drinkers and drank the most units per week of the four social mobility groups. Stable non-manual women were more likely to consume alcohol on 5+ days a week but very few were binge drinkers. Stable non-manual and upwardly mobile men and women were more likely to drink wine, and downwardly mobile men to drink beer. Conclusions: Downward mobility was associated with less favourable alcohol behaviours, especially in men. Wine consumption was more closely related to the social mobility groups than beer and spirits consumption. Drinking patterns could both influence and be influenced by social mobility.

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