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Associations between socio-economic factors and alcohol consumption: a population survey of adults in England

Beard, EV; Brown, J; West, R; Kaner, E; Meier, P; Boniface, S; Michie, S; (2019) Associations between socio-economic factors and alcohol consumption: a population survey of adults in England. PLoS One , 14 (2) , Article e0209442. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0209442. Green open access

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Abstract

AIM: To gain a better understanding of the complex relationships of different measures of social position, educational level and income with alcohol consumption in England. // METHOD: Between March 2014 and April 2018 data were collected on n = 57,807 alcohol drinkers in England taking part in the Alcohol Toolkit Study (ATS). Respondents completed the AUDIT-C measure of frequency of alcohol consumption, amount consumed on a typical day and binge drinking frequency. The first two questions were used to derive a secondary measure of quantity: average weekly unit consumption. Socio-economic factors measured were: social-grade (based on occupation), employment status, educational qualifications, home and car ownership and income. Models were constructed using ridge regression to assess the contribution of each predictor taking account of high collinearity. Models were adjusted for age, gender and ethnicity. // RESULTS: The strongest predictor of frequency of alcohol consumption was social-grade. Those in the two lowest occupational categories of social grade (e.g. semi-skilled and unskilled manual workers, and unemployed, pensioners, casual workers) has fewer drinking occasions than those in professional-managerial occupations (β = -0.29, 95%CI -0.34 to -0.25; β = -0.31, 95%CI -0.33 to -0.29). The strongest predictor of consumed volume and binge drinking frequency was lower educational attainment: those whose highest qualification was an A-level (i.e. college/high school qualification) drank substantially more on a typical day (β = 0.28, 95%CI 0.25 to 0.31) and had a higher weekly unit intake (β = 3.55, 95%CI 3.04 to 4.05) than those with a university qualification. They also reported a higher frequency of binge drinking (β = 0.11, 95%CI 0.09 to 0.14). Housing tenure was a strong predictor of all drinking outcomes, while employment status and car ownership were the weakest predictors of most outcomes. // CONCLUSION: Social-grade and educational attainment appear to be the strongest socioeconomic predictors of alcohol consumption indices in England, followed closely by housing tenure. Employment status and car ownership have the lowest predictive power.

Type: Article
Title: Associations between socio-economic factors and alcohol consumption: a population survey of adults in England
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0209442
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0209442
Language: English
Additional information: © 2019 Beard et al. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited. - Correction issued dated April 30, 2019 regarding author listing.
UCL classification: UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > Div of Psychology and Lang Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > Div of Psychology and Lang Sciences > Clinical, Edu and Hlth Psychology
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Pop Health Sciences > Institute of Epidemiology and Health
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Pop Health Sciences > Institute of Epidemiology and Health > Behavioural Science and Health
URI: http://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10063598
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