Intelligence in relation to later beverage preference and alcohol intake

Danish Epidemiology Science Centre, Institute of Preventive Medicine, Copenhagen University Hospital, Copenhagen, Denmark.
Addiction (Impact Factor: 4.74). 10/2005; 100(10):1445-52. DOI: 10.1111/j.1360-0443.2005.01229.x
Source: PubMed


The health effects of drinking may be related to psychological characteristics influencing both health and drinking habits. This study aims to examine the relationship between intelligence, later beverage preference and alcohol intake.
Prospective cohort study.
Zealand, Denmark.
A total of 900 obese men and a random population sample of 899 young men.
Intelligence testing at the draft board examinations over a 22-year period between 1956 and 1977. Percentage of wine of total alcohol intake (wine pct), preference for wine (wine pct >50), heavy drinking (>21 drinks per week) and non-drinking (<1 drink per week), and vocational education from follow-ups of the initial study sample in 1981-83 and 1992-94.
A strong dose-response-like association was found between intelligence quotient (IQ) in young adulthood and beverage preferences later in life in both the obese and the random population sample. At the first follow-up a 30-point advantage in IQ [2 standard deviations (SD)] was found to be associated with an odds ratio (OR) for preferring wine over beer and spirits of 1.7 (1.3-2.4). At the second follow-up the corresponding OR was 2.8 (2.0-3.9). A 30-point advantage in IQ was found to be associated with an OR for being a non-drinker of 0.5 (0.3-0.8) at the first follow-up and second follow-up. We examined whether, at the second follow-up, the association between IQ, beverage preferences and non-drinking could be explained by socio-economic position (SEP). The association between IQ and non-drinking disappeared when controlling for SEP. The association between IQ and beverage preferences was attenuated, but remained statistically significant. IQ was not associated with heavy drinking.
Irrespective of socio-economic position, a high IQ was associated with preference for wine to other beverages, but IQ was not related similarly to alcohol consumption.

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    ABSTRACT: Changes in alcohol pricing have been documented as inversely associated with changes in consumption and alcohol-related problems. Evidence of the association between price changes and health problems is nevertheless patchy and is based to a large extent on cross-sectional state-level data, or time series of such cross-sectional analyses. Natural experimental studies have been called for. There was a substantial reduction in the price of alcohol in Finland in 2004 due to a reduction in alcohol taxes of one third, on average, and the abolition of duty-free allowances for travellers from the EU. These changes in the Finnish alcohol policy could be considered a natural experiment, which offered a good opportunity to study what happens with regard to alcohol-related problems when prices go down. The present study investigated the effects of this reduction in alcohol prices on (1) alcohol-related and all-cause mortality, and mortality due to cardiovascular diseases, (2) alcohol-related morbidity in terms of hospitalisation, (3) socioeconomic differentials in alcohol-related mortality, and (4) small-area differences in interpersonal violence in the Helsinki Metropolitan area. Differential trends in alcohol-related mortality prior to the price reduction were also analysed. A variety of population-based register data was used in the study. Time-series intervention analysis modelling was applied to monthly aggregations of deaths and hospitalisation for the period 1996-2006. These and other mortality analyses were carried out for men and women aged 15 years and over. Socioeconomic differentials in alcohol-related mortality were assessed on a before/after basis, mortality being followed up in 2001-2003 (before the price reduction) and 2004-2005 (after). Alcohol-related mortality was defined in all the studies on mortality on the basis of information on both underlying and contributory causes of death. Hospitalisation related to alcohol meant that there was a reference to alcohol in the primary diagnosis. Data on interpersonal violence was gathered from 86 administrative small-areas in the Helsinki Metropolitan area and was also assessed on a before/after basis followed up in 2002-2003 and 2004-2005. The statistical methods employed to analyse these data sets included time-series analysis, and Poisson and linear regression. The results of the study indicate that alcohol-related deaths increased substantially among men aged 40-69 years and among women aged 50-69 after the price reduction when trends and seasonal variation were taken into account. The increase was mainly attributable to chronic causes, particularly liver diseases. Mortality due to cardiovascular diseases and all-cause mortality, on the other hand, decreased considerably among the-over-69-year-olds. The increase in alcohol-related mortality in absolute terms among the 30-59-year-olds was largest among the unemployed and early-age pensioners, and those with a low level of education, social class or income. The relative differences in change between the education and social class subgroups were small. The employed and those under the age of 35 did not suffer from increased alcohol-related mortality in the two years following the price reduction. The gap between the age and education groups, which was substantial in the 1980s, thus further broadened. With regard to alcohol-related hospitalisation, there was an increase in both chronic and acute causes among men under the age of 70, and among women in the 50-69-year age group when trends and seasonal variation were taken into account. Alcohol dependence and other alcohol-related mental and behavioural disorders were the largest category in both the total number of chronic hospitalisation and in the increase. There was no increase in the rate of interpersonal violence in the Helsinki Metropolitan area, and even a decrease in domestic violence. There was a significant relationship between the measures of social disadvantage on the area level and interpersonal violence, although the differences in the effects of the price reduction between the different areas were small. The findings of the present study suggest that that a reduction in alcohol prices may lead to a substantial increase in alcohol-related mortality and morbidity. However, large population group differences were observed regarding responsiveness to the price changes. In particular, the less privileged, such as the unemployed, were most sensitive. In contrast, at least in the Finnish context, the younger generations and the employed do not appear to be adversely affected, and those in the older age groups may even benefit from cheaper alcohol in terms of decreased rates of CVD mortality. The results also suggest that reductions in alcohol prices do not necessarily affect interpersonal violence. The population group differences in the effects of the price changes on alcohol-related harm should be acknowledged, and therefore the policy actions should focus on the population subgroups that are primarily responsive to the price reduction. Alkoholin hintamuutosten on havaittu olevan käänteisessä yhteydessä kulutukseen ja haittoihin. Tähän liittyvä tutkimustieto on kuitenkin harvalukuista eikä aina kovin vakuuttavaa. Paremman evidenssin saamiseksi on kaivattu luonnollisen kokeen asetelmia. Suomessa toteutettiin vuonna 2004 lakimuutos, jonka seurauksena alkoholiveroa alennettiin keskimäärin kolmannes ja matkustajatuonnin rajoitukset EU:n sisältä poistettiin. Nämä muutokset antoivat mahdollisuuden tutkia luonnollisen kokeen asetelmalla millaisia muutoksia tapahtuu alkoholiin liittyvissä ongelmissa, kun hinta ja saatavuus nopeasti laskevat. Tässä väitöskirjatyössä tutkittiin alkoholin hinnanalennuksen vaikutuksia alkoholi-, kokonais- ja sydän- ja verisuonitautikuolleisuuteen, alkoholiin liittyviin sairaalahoitoihin, sosioekonomisiin eroihin alkoholikuolleisuudessa ja alue-eroihin väkivaltarikollisuudessa Helsingin seudulla. Lisäksi tutkittiin alkoholikuolleisuuden trendejä ennen lakimuutosta. Tutkimusta varten muodostettiin lukuisia eri pitkittäisaineistoja pääosin Tilastokeskuksen, THL:n ja poliisin rekistereihin perustuen. 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Myös sosioekonomisen aseman alemmilla tasoilla absoluuttinen kuolleisuuden kasvu oli suurempaa kuin ylemmillä tasoilla, oli mittarina sitten koulutus, sosiaaliluokka tai tulotaso. Työssäkäyvillä ja alle 35-vuotiailla kuolleisuus ei lakimuutoksen jälkeen kasvanut. Jo 1980-luvulla havaitut huomattavat ikä- ja koulutusryhmien väliset erot alkoholikuolleisuudessa kasvoivat edelleen. Sekä krooniset että akuutit alkoholiin liittyvät sairaalahoidot lisääntyivät alle 70-vuotiailla miehillä ja 50 69-vuotiailla naisilla lakimuutoksen jälkeen. Kroonisissa sairaalahoidoissa alkoholiin liittyvät psyykkiset ja käyttäytymisen häiriöt olivat suurin ryhmä. Väkivaltarikollisuudessa ei havaittu merkittävää kasvua pääkaupunkiseudulla lakimuutoksen jälkeen, eivätkä erilaisten huono-osaisuuden mittareiden määrittämien alueiden väliset erotkaan olleet mainittavia. 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