Mind the gap! Gender differences in alcohol consumption among Swedish ninth graders 1989-2021

Drug Alcohol Rev. 2024 Mar;43(3):596-603. doi: 10.1111/dar.13718. Epub 2023 Jul 11.


Introduction: To examine gender differences in drinking habits among Swedish ninth graders over the period 1989-2021.

Methods: Annual school surveys with nationally representative samples of ninth-grade students in Sweden covering the period 1989-2021, total sample of 180,538 students. Drinking habits were measured with self-reports of frequency and quantity of use and frequency of heavy episodic drinking. Differences between genders were compared annually and differences were tested using logistic and ordinary least square regression models with cluster robust standard errors.

Results: Small gender differences in the prevalence of alcohol use during the first part of the study period were followed by an increasing gap over the past decade with girls being more likely to drink alcohol than boys. Boys consumed larger amounts of alcohol than girls during the first three decades of the studied period but no gender differences were found in later years. Binge drinking was more prevalent among boys during 1989 to 2000 but no systematic gender difference was found during the past 15 years.

Discussion and conclusions: There used to be clear gender differences in drinking habits among ninth graders in Sweden with boys drinking more than girls. This gap has narrowed over the past three decades and among contemporary adolescents, no gender differences are found neither in binge drinking nor volume of drinking and the prevalence of drinking is even higher among girls.

Keywords: Sweden; alcohol; change; gender; youth.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Binge Drinking* / epidemiology
  • Ethanol
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Schools
  • Sex Factors
  • Sweden / epidemiology


  • Ethanol