This paper describes educational differences in starting excessive alcohol consumption during 612 years of follow-up among 1648 initially alcohol-consuming Dutch adults. The longitudinal GLOBE study provides the unique possibility to study explanations for educational differences due to the collection of extensive baseline information on educational level, alcohol consumption, stressors (tension reduction theory) and vulnerability indicators (differential vulnerability theory) in 1991. Alcohol consumption was again assessed in 1997. We report that lower educated people were almost three times more likely to start excessive alcohol consumption during follow-up compared to the highest educated persons. Both educational differences in exposure to stressors (financial problems) and vulnerability (low social support) contributed to the educational differences in starting excessive alcohol consumption and explained 23% of the educational variation in starting excessive alcohol consumption. Remaining educational differences were however still statistically significant. These results are discussed with regard to implications for interventions and possible additional explanatory mechanisms.

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Social Science & Medicine
Erasmus MC: University Medical Center Rotterdam

Droomers, M., Schrijvers, C., & Mackenbach, J. (2004). Educational differences in starting excessive alcohol consumption: Explanations from the longitudinal GLOBE study. Social Science & Medicine, 58(10), 2023–2033. doi:10.1016/S0277-9536(03)00411-8