To investigate whether abstainers fare worse than non-abstainers on the labour market because a subset of the abstainers are ex-drinkers with alcohol problems.
In the cross-sectional population survey 'health 2000 in Finland' (n = 10 000) carried out in 2000, alcohol dependency was measured using the DSM-IV diagnostic criteria for alcohol dependence. The CIDI (composite international diagnostic interview) was applied to ascertain lifetime DSM-IV diagnoses for substance abuse diagnoses, including alcohol dependence. Individuals were considered to be employed if they were working part-time or full-time.
Male abstainers have on average 9.5 percentage points lower employment probability than non-abstainers. However, abstainers who have never drunk alcohol do not have lower employment probability than non-abstainers. Abstainers who are diagnosed as alcohol dependent have 27 percentage points lower employment probability than non-abstainers.
The underperformance of abstainers in a labour market sense is almost entirely due to the fact that some abstainers are ex-drinkers who in our study are identified as alcohol-dependent. Otherwise abstaining does not decrease employment probability.
To study the associations between drunkenness frequency and adaptive functioning, psychopathology and service use among 18-year-old Finnish boys in a nation-wide population-based study.
Information about drunkenness frequency within the previous six months was collected from the Finnish boys born in 1981 (n = 2306) at the boys' obligatory military call-up in 1999. Self-report questionnaires were used to study demographic factors, adaptive functioning, risk behaviour, life events, and mental health service use. Psychopathology and adaptive functioning was assessed with the Young Adult Self-Report (YASR) questionnaire.
Of the boys, 85% reported drunkenness within the previous 6 months. Most of the subjects were occasionally drunk: 39% reported drunkenness less than a month, and 35% less than once a week, while 10% reported being frequently drunk once a week or more often. Occasional drunkenness was associated with better adaptive functioning and psychosocial well-being in general. Refraining from drunkenness was associated with suicidal ideation and internalizing problems in the YASR scale. Frequent drunkenness associated with daily smoking, illicit drug use, and externalizing problems in the YASR scale, especially delinquent behaviour. In the multivariate analysis, number of friends, having a regular relationship and cigarette smoking had a linear association with frequency of drunkenness, while drunkenness-related alcohol use was less common among those with poor friendship quality. Among the participants, entering substance use treatment was rare (0.2%). Frequent drunkenness was found to be common among mental health service users.
Among late-adolescent boys, occasional drunkenness is a normative alcohol use pattern and associates with social competence and good psychosocial functioning. Late-adolescent boys refraining from drunkenness in addition to those with frequent drunkenness may be in a need of mental health assessment. As entering substance use treatment is infrequent, establishing integrated services with multi-professional co-operation for late-adolescent males with frequent drunkenness is emphasized.
To evaluate whether confounding by several known or suspected coronary heart disease risk factors are likely to explain the lower coronary heart disease risk among light alcohol drinkers compared with never-drinkers.
A population-based cross-sectional study.
Hypertension, body mass index (BMI), diabetes, depression, sleep disturbances, smoking, physical activity, life satisfaction, psychological distress, trait anxiety, independent and dependent life events, length of working hours, job control, job strain and effort-reward imbalance were compared between never-drinkers and light drinkers (
The preventive paradox prevails if the majority of alcohol problems accrue to the lesser-drinking majority of population, not to heavy drinkers. Evidence for the paradox has been criticized for being based on self-report. The aim was to examine whether the paradox also applies to deaths and hospital admissions.
Data from four surveys representing the Finnish population aged 15-69 years in 1969, 1976, 1984 and 1992 were pooled; those from 1969, 1976 and 1984 (n = 6726) to study alcohol-related hospital admissions and alcohol-related deaths, and those from 1984 and 1992 (n = 5558) to study self-reported problems. The former data were linked with register data on hospital admission and death up to the end of 2002.
Comparisons were made separately for men and women (1) between the 10% of population with the highest average alcohol consumption and the remaining 90% of drinkers and (2) between those who reported and those who did not report drinking to intoxication.
A total of 3025 men and 2693 women were available for the study of self-reported problems and 2945 men and 2615 women for deaths and hospital admissions. Seventy per cent of all self-reported problems, 70% of alcohol-related hospitalizations, 64% of alcohol-related deaths and 64% of the premature life-years lost before the age of 65 occurred among the 90% of men consuming less. The respective figures for women were 64%, 60%, 93% and 98%. Drinking five or more drinks per occasion was related to more harm than not drinking that much.
In men, the "prevention paradox" appears to apply to a broadly similar degree to hospitalizations and deaths as self-report alcohol-related problems; in women the phenomenon was apparent to a greater degree for deaths than for other markers of harm.
To examine the associations between alcohol consumption and utility-based health-related quality of life (HRQoL), subjective quality of life (QoL), self-rated health (SRH), and mental distress.
Representative general population survey in Finland, with 5871 persons aged 30-64 years. HRQoL was measured with two health utility instruments (15D and EQ-5D), QoL and SRH were measured with RATING scales, and mental distress with a General Health Questionnaire (GHQ-12). Past alcohol problems were diagnosed with a structured psychiatric interview known as the composite international diagnostic interview (CIDI). Alcohol consumption was examined with a self-report questionnaire.
Negative associations between alcohol and well-being were observed on several measures for women consuming more than 173 g and men more than 229 g per week. Former drinkers scored worst on most measures, even in comparison to the highest drinking decile. For men, all statistically significant associations between moderate drinking and well-being disappeared when sociodemographic factors and former drinkers were controlled for. For women, moderate alcohol use associated with better SRH and EQ-5D as compared to abstainers. However, the possible health utility benefits associated with moderate alcohol consumption were of clinically insignificant magnitude.
Failure to separate former drinkers and other abstainers produces a significant bias favoring moderate drinkers. As the possible health utility benefits of moderate alcohol use were clinically insignificant, it suffices to investigate mortality, when estimating the public health impact of moderate alcohol consumption using quality-adjusted life years.
To estimate the gender-specific prevalences of alcohol consumption levels and to investigate the association between heavy drinking and all-cause mortality among elderly males.
A cohort derived from a nationally representative sample of Finns aged >65 years was followed for six years. Number of subjects was 1569 (72.7% of the original sample, 65.3% females, weighted n=1357).
Alcohol consumption was retrospectively measured by beverage-specific quantity and frequency over a 12-month period. Mortality data were obtained from the official Cause-of-Death Register. Cox proportional hazards models were used to analyse the relative risks (RRs) of death.
The prevalence of heavy drinking (>8 standard drinks per week) was 20.3% in males and 1.2% in females. Over one-tenth (11.4%) of males reported drinking > or =15 standard drinks per week. Relative death risks suggested a J-curved relationship between alcohol consumption levels and mortality. However, significant curvilinear relationship was not found, when using alcohol consumption as continuous variable. The multivariate adjusted RR of death among moderate drinkers (1-7 drinks per week) vs. abstinent subjects was 0.41 (95% CI=.23-.72). Males drinking > or =15 standard drinks per week had a two-fold multivariate adjusted risk of death (RR=2.11, 95% CI=1.19-3.75) compared with abstinent males. The level of alcohol consumption by females was too low for analysis.
Heavy drinking is common among Finnish elderly males but not among females. The present study shows an increased all-cause mortality risk for males drinking, on average, more than two standard drinks per day.
Little is known about the U-shaped relation between alcohol intake and health beyond findings related to cardiovascular disease. Medically certified sickness absence is a health indicator in which coronary heart disease is only a minor factor. To investigate the relation between alcohol intake and sickness absence, records regarding medically certified sick leaves from all causes were assessed for 4 years (1997-2000) in a cohort of 1,490 male and 4,952 female municipal employees in Finland. Hierarchical Poisson regression, adjusted for self-reported behavioral and biologic risk factors, psychosocial risk factors, and cardiovascular diseases, was used to estimate the rate ratios and their 95% confidence intervals, relating sickness absence to each level of alcohol consumption. For both men and women, a significant curvilinear trend was found between level of average weekly alcohol consumption and sickness absence. The rates of medically certified sickness absence were 1.2-fold higher (95% confidence interval: 1.1, 1.3) for never, former, and heavy drinkers compared with light drinkers. The U-shaped relation between alcohol intake and health is not likely to be explained by confounding due to psychosocial differences or inclusion of former drinkers in the nondrinkers category. Moderate alcohol consumption also may reduce health problems other than cardiovascular disease.
To discover whether the number of fatal alcohol peaks during festivities characterized by unrestrained drinking and relates to sales of alcoholic beverages.
Time-series and cross-sectional.
Fatal alcohol poisonings and retail alcohol sales in Finland in 1983-99.
Fatal alcohol poisonings were found to peak during weekends and in the May Day, Midsummer Day and Christmas celebrations. Regression analysis of quarterly series lead to a model showing that 1% increase in the sales of spirits increases the number of fatal alcohol poisonings by 0.4%.
At the population level, increases in the sales of spirits and periods of hard drinking seem to increase deaths from alcohol poisoning. The findings could be of use in efforts to decrease hard drinking.
The impact of alcohol regulation changes in Finland during 2004 on alcohol-positive sudden deaths was analysed, focusing on: (1) removal of traveller's allowance quotas on alcohol imports from other European Union (EU) countries, (2) lowering of Finnish alcohol excise duty rates and (3) Estonia joining the EU.
The impact of these changes was estimated using an autoregressive integrated moving average (ARIMA) analytical technique. Post-mortem forensic toxicology data were analysed over a 15-year period to account for seasonal and long-term variation. In all, the data comprised a weekly series of 33,782 alcohol-positive cases (at least 0.20 mg/g alcohol in blood) and a control series of 37,617 alcohol-negative cases.
Finland in 1990-2004.
The liberation of traveller's allowances had no material impact on alcohol-positive sudden deaths, but the impact of alcohol tax cuts in March 2004 was significant, resulting in an estimated eight additional alcohol-positive deaths per week, which is a 17% increase compared with the weekly average of 2003. The impact associated with Estonia joining the EU was not statistically significant. In the models applied to the control series of alcohol-negative deaths, none of the impact coefficients was statistically significant.
Alcohol tax cuts were associated with an increase in the number of sudden deaths involving alcohol. This parallels the reported increases in alcohol consumption and alcohol-related causes of death in 2004 in Finland.
In this paper, we investigate to what extent alcohol-dependent individuals fare worse in the Finnish labour market, using data from a large Finnish health survey. We used the DSM-IV criteria for alcohol dependence assessed by a composite international diagnostic interview (CIDI). We find that there are substantial disadvantages for alcohol-dependent men and women in the labour market, in the sense that they have lower employment probabilities. Treating alcohol dependence as an exogenous variable, we find that alcohol dependence is associated with decrease in the probability of full-time or part-time work of around 14 percentage points for men and 11 percentage points for women. However, accounting for endogeneity increases the negative effect to some 50 percentage points for men and to some 40 percentage points for women.