Adolescents from affluent city districts drink more alcohol than others

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AimsTo estimate the level of alcohol consumption and problems among adolescents in city districts in Oslo, Norway with different socio-economic composition; to test whether differences in alcohol consumption are related to district differences in socio-demographic characteristics; and to analyse whether such associations remain significant after controlling for individual-level variables.DesignCross-sectional survey using multi-level linear regression analyses with individual responses at the lowest level and city-district data at the highest level.SettingOslo, Norway.ParticipantsA total of 6635 secondary school students, in 62 schools, living in 15 different city districts.MeasurementsFrequency of alcohol consumption and alcohol intoxication; alcohol problems; and individual characteristics such as immigrant status, religious involvement and parental norms with regard to alcohol. Socio-economic indicators in city districts, such as education, income and unemployment, were combined into a district-level socio-economic index (DLSI).FindingsDLSI scores were related positively to alcohol use (r = 0.31, P < 0.01) and alcohol intoxication (r = 0.25, P < 0.01) but negatively to alcohol problems among alcohol users (r = –0.18, P < 0.01). DLSI scores remained significant for alcohol consumption and alcohol intoxication, after controlling for individual-level variables (P < 0.01), but this was not the case for alcohol problems.ConclusionAdolescents in affluent areas of Oslo, Norway report the highest levels of alcohol consumption and alcohol intoxication of all areas; neighbourhood characteristics such as education, income and unemployment levels seem to play a role in such drinking behaviour. Alcohol users in poorer districts reported more alcohol problems than those in other districts; however, here neighbourhood effects do not seem to play a role.

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