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Developmental alcohol trajectories when price and availability changed

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posted on 20.02.2021, 16:17 by Nina-Katri Gustafsson, Peter Wennberg
Purpose. To identify developmental trajectories for alcohol consumption in southern Sweden in relation to increased availability of cheaper alcohol, and to study the likelihood of belonging to one of the identified trajectory groups. An increase of total consumption was expected to be related to an increase in consumption of spirits due to the nature of the changes. Developmental patterns were assumed to be different in northern Sweden given the distance to the changes.
Design. 16-80 year olds from general population samples from southern (n=610) and northern (n=575) Sweden were interviewed by telephone before and after changes. Alcohol use trajectories for the years 2003-2006 were identified through longitudinal cluster analysis. Characteristics of clusters – sex, age, income, price expectations, alcohol attitude, alcohol consumption, binge drinking and beverage preferences – were compared.
Findings. Three developmental trajectories for consumption were identified for each region. Alcohol habits influenced the likelihood of trajectory membership as decreasers on average had a higher initial consumption. An increase in spirits consumption was also observed among overall increasers. Other potential explanations were not linked to trajectories.
Research implications. Earlier research of the changes was unable to find an overall increase in consumption but these results suggests that some groups changed as expected.
Originality. Few studies have identified trajectories of alcohol use in relation to policy changes. Studying patterns of change puts the focus on consumption rather than population groups.


The study has received support from the Joint Committee for Nordic Research Councils for the Humanities and the Social Sciences (NOS-HS, project 20071), the US National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (R01 AA014879), national funds and partial funding for the 2003 data collection from Systembolaget AB (the Swedish Alcohol Retailing Monopoly). The article was written with financial support from the Swedish Research Council for Health, Working Life and Welfare (Forte, former FAS), as part of the Centre of Excellence program: Exclusion and Inclusion in the Late Welfare State: the Case of Alcohol and Drugs, project no. 1295316.


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Developmental alcohol trajectories when price and availability changed

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310 Sociologiska institutionen | Department of Sociology