Adolescent smoking and tertiary education: opposing pathways linking socioeconomic background to alcohol consumption

Green, M. J. , Leyland, A. H. , Sweeting, H. and Benzeval, M. (2016) Adolescent smoking and tertiary education: opposing pathways linking socioeconomic background to alcohol consumption. Addiction, 111(8), pp. 1457-1465. (doi: 10.1111/add.13365) (PMID:27162105) (PMCID:PMC4943526)

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Background and aims: If socioeconomic disadvantage is associated with more adolescent smoking, but less participation in tertiary education, and smoking and tertiary education are both associated with heavier drinking, these may represent opposing pathways to heavy drinking. This paper examines contextual variation in the magnitude and direction of these associations. Design: Comparing cohort studies. Setting: UK Participants: Were from the 1958 National Child Development Study (NCDS58; N=15,672), 1970 British birth cohort study (BCS70; N=12,735), and the West of Scotland Twenty-07 1970s cohort (T07; N=1,515). Measurements: Participants self-reported daily smoking and weekly drinking in adolescence (age 16) and heavy drinking (>14/21 units in past week) in early adulthood (ages 22-26). Parental occupational class (manual vs. non-manual) indicated socioeconomic background. Education beyond age 18 was coded as tertiary. Models were adjusted for parental smoking and drinking, family structure and adolescent psychiatric distress. Findings: Respondents from a manual class were more likely to smoke and less likely to enter tertiary education (e.g. in NCDS58 probit coefficients were 0.201 and -0.765 respectively; p<0.001 for both) than respondents from a non-manual class. Adolescent smokers were more likely to drink weekly in adolescence (0.346; p<0.001) and more likely to drink heavily in early adulthood (0.178; p<0.001) than adolescent non-smokers. Respondents who participated in tertiary education were more likely to drink heavily in early adulthood (0.110 for males, 0.182 for females; p<0.001 for both) than respondents with no tertiary education. With some variation in magnitude, these associations were consistent across all three cohorts. Conclusions: In Britain, young adults are more likely to drink heavily both if they smoke and participate in tertiary education (college and university) despite socioeconomic background being associated in opposite directions with these risk factors.

Item Type:Articles
Additional Information:We are grateful to survey participants and staff in all three studies. The West of Scotland Twenty-07 Study is funded by the UK Medical Research Council (MRC; MC_A540_53462). We are grateful to the Centre for Longitudinal Studies, Institute of Education and to the UK Data Archive for making the NCDS58 and BCS70 data available. However, they bear no responsibility for the analysis or interpretation of these data. MG was supported by a doctoral training fellowship from the Chief Scientist Office (CSO) of the Scottish Government Health Directorates (DTF/11/16) and by the MRC (MC_UU_12017-13). AL has funding from the MRC (MC_UU_12017/5) and the CSO (SPHSU2). HS has funding from the MRC (MC_UU_12017/3). MB has support from the University of Essex and the UK Economic and Social Research Council.
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Green, Dr Michael and Benzeval, Dr Michaela and Leyland, Professor Alastair and Sweeting, Dr Helen
Authors: Green, M. J., Leyland, A. H., Sweeting, H., and Benzeval, M.
College/School:College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > School of Health & Wellbeing > MRC/CSO SPHSU
Journal Name:Addiction
ISSN (Online):1360-0443
Published Online:09 May 2016
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2016 The Authors
First Published:First published in Addiction 111(8): 1457-1465
Publisher Policy:Reproduced under a Creative Commons License

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Project CodeAward NoProject NamePrincipal InvestigatorFunder's NameFunder RefLead Dept
650121Socioeconomic Status as a Common Cause for Smoking, Drinking, and Anxiety and Depression over the LifecourseMichael GreenScottish Executive Health Department (SEHHD-CSO)DTF/11/16IHW - MRC/CSO SPHU
727651SPHSU Core Renewal: Measuring and Analysing Socioeconomic Inequalities in Health Research ProgrammeAlastair LeylandMedical Research Council (MRC)MC_UU_12017/13IHW - MRC/CSO SPHU
656601Measuring Health, Variations in Health and Determinants of HealthAlastair LeylandMedical Research Council (MRC)MC_UU_12017/5IHW - MRC/CSO SPHU
656581Gender and HealthKathryn HuntMedical Research Council (MRC)MC_UU_12017/3IHW - MRC/CSO SPHU
727641SPHSU Core Renewal: Setting and Health Improvement Research ProgrammeKathryn HuntMedical Research Council (MRC)MC_UU_12017/12IHW - MRC/CSO SPHU