Adolescents from affluent city districts drink more alcohol than others
Aims To estimate the level of alcohol consumption and problems among adolescents in city districts in Oslo, Norway with different socio-economic composition; to test whether differences in alcohol consumption are related to district differences in socio-demographic characteristics; and to analyse whether such associations remain significant after controlling for individual-level variables. Design Cross-sectional survey using multi-level linear regression analyses with individual responses at the lowest level and city-district data at the highest level. Setting Oslo, Norway. Participants A total of 6635 secondary school students, in 62 schools, living in 15 different city districts. Measurements Frequency of alcohol consumption and alcohol intoxication; alcohol problems; and individual characteristics such as immigrant status, religious involvement and parental norms with regard to alcohol. Socio-economic indicators in city districts, such as education, income and unemployment, were combined into a district-level socio-economic index (DLSI). Findings DLSI scores were related positively to alcohol use (r=0.31, P<0.01) and alcohol intoxication (r=0.25, P<0.01) but negatively to alcohol problems among alcohol users (r=–0.18, P<0.01). DLSI scores remained significant for alcohol consumption and alcohol intoxication, after controlling for individual-level variables (P<0.01), but this was not the case for alcohol problems. Conclusion Adolescents in affluent areas of Oslo, Norway report the highest levels of alcohol consumption and alcohol intoxication of all areas; neighbourhood characteristics such as education, income and unemployment levels seem to play a role in such drinking behaviour. Alcohol users in poorer districts reported more alcohol problems than those in other districts; however, here neighbourhood effects do not seem to play a role.
von Soest, Tilmann