Education, Alcohol Use and Abuse among Young Adults in Britain
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Social Science & Medicine
Francesca Borgonovi, a, and Maria C Huerta PhDa
a The London School of Economics London, UNITED KINGDOM
Received 3 July 2009;
revised 10 March 2010;
accepted 15 March 2010.
Available online 31 March 2010.
In this article we explore the relationship between education and alcohol consumption. We examine whether the probability of abusing alcohol differs across educational groups. We use data from the British Cohort Study, a longitudinal study of one week’s birth in Britain in 1970. We analysed data collected at age 34 (in 2004) and complement it with information gathered at previous sweeps. Measures of alcohol abuse include alcohol consumption above NHS guidelines, daily alcohol consumption and problem drinking. We found that higher educational attainment is associated with increased odds of daily alcohol consumption and problem drinking. The relationship is stronger for females than males. Individuals who achieved high educational test scores in childhood are at a significantly higher risk of abusing alcohol across all dimensions. Our results also suggest that educational qualifications and academic performance are associated with the probability of belonging to different typologies of alcohol consumers among women while this association is not present in the case of educational qualifications and is very weak in the case of academic performance among males.