Social class, drinking and alcohol-related mortality

J Subst Abuse. 1998;10(4):385-95. doi: 10.1016/s0899-3289(99)00013-9.


The main purpose of this study is to investigate the magnitude of class differences in the distribution of alcohol consumption in Sweden, and to assess whether this is compatible with the observed pattern in class-specific mortality. The emphasis is put on analyses of survey data from 1990, but we also provide an overview of earlier published data. The findings suggest that, over the past 20-30 years, there has been an equalization, or even reversal, between social strata in the average consumption of alcohol, such that the consumption level for manual laborers is now at parity with, or possibly exceeds, the level for non-manual employees. This shift may also have been accompanied by a shift in the dispersion: the 1990 survey data indicate that the consumption distribution for the manual laborers is more skewed than that for the non-manual employees, while no such tendency was detected in the early data. Calculations demonstrated that this difference in dispersion may well account for the elevated rate of alcohol-related mortality among manual laborers. The results are finally discussed as a case of deviation from the general rule of collective change in consumption.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Alcohol Drinking / adverse effects
  • Alcohol Drinking / mortality*
  • Alcoholism / mortality*
  • Cause of Death
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Health Surveys
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Social Class*
  • Sweden / epidemiology