Discrepant Trends in Income, Drinking, and Alcohol Problems in an Emergent Economy: Brazil 2006 to 2012

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Abstract

Background:

To examine the association between increases in income and self-reported alcohol consumption, binge drinking, and alcohol problems in 2006 and 2012 in Brazil.

Methods:

Participants were interviewed as part of 2 multistage representative cluster samples of the Brazilian household population between November 2005 and April 2006 and between November 2011 and March 2012. The number of current drinkers during these 2 intervals (n = 1,379 and n = 1,907, respectively) comprised the sample analyzed. Four past-year outcome variables—standard drinks per week, binge drinking, presence of alcohol-related social/health problems, and DSM-5 alcohol use disorder (AUD)—were estimated across income, age, and gender groups. Regression models were estimated to evaluate these and other sociodemographic effects on drinking and problem outcomes and to test for possible wave by income interactions.

Results:

Response rates were 66.4% in 2006 and 77% in 2012. Income increases were seen in virtually all age–gender subgroups and were particularly pronounced for younger age groups and older women. Both genders reported increased drinks per week (men: 12.82, 2006; 15.78, 2012; p < 0.01; women: 4.89, 2006; 7.66, 2012; p < 0.001) and proportion binge drinking (men: 57%, 2006; 66%, 2012; p < 0.05; women: 39%, 2006; 48%, 2012; p < 0.05), although this was not seen in all gender and age groups. Social/health problem prevalence decreased among men (37%, 2006; 26%, 2012; p < 0.001) and remained the same among women (13%, 2006; 14%, 2012). DSM-5 AUD decreased among men (34%, 2006; 24%, 2012; p < 0.01) and remained stable among women (14%, 2006; 16%, 2012).

Conclusions:

Brazilian economic development between 2006 and 2012 led to a rise in income in several gender and age groups. Although not always directly associated with an observed increase in alcohol consumption, the rise in income may have created a sense of optimism that inhibited a rise in alcohol-related problems.

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