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Int J Epidemiol. 1997 Jun;26(3):584-91.

Alcoholism in social classes and occupations in Sweden.

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  • 1Department of Occupational Health, NVSO, Karolinska Hospital, Stockholm, Sweden.



A number of studies have shown variations in the occurrence of alcoholism between different socioeconomic groups and occupations, but it has not been clear to what extent this is related to the average alcohol consumption in the same socioeconomic groups or occupations.


The relationship between socioeconomic group and occupation and hospital discharge 1981-1983 due to 'diagnoses related to alcoholism' (AD) (alcohol psychosis, alcoholism, and alcohol intoxication) and liver cirrhosis was studied in a cohort of 375,035 men and 140,139 women in 13 counties in Sweden who had reported the same occupation in the censuses of 1960 and 1970. Data on alcohol consumption in different socioeconomic groups and occupations were collected from a conscription investigation and from the Swedish twin registry with data from 1969/70 and 1973 respectively.


Intermediate or higher non-manual employees had lower risk of AD as well as of liver cirrhosis compared to manual workers for both sexes. Among males several, mostly blue-collar, occupations had increased relative risks of AD. A high level of association was found between the relative risks of AD and liver cirrhosis in socioeconomic groups, and the relative risk of AD in occupations, and the average alcohol consumption in the same socioeconomic groups/occupations among males. Such an association was not evident among women.


The study shows, contrary to previous Swedish evidence, that there is a strong relationship between the incidence of alcoholism in socioeconomic groups and occupations and the average alcohol consumption in these groups among men.

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