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Adolescent smoking and tertiary education: opposing pathways linking socio-economic background to alcohol consumption

Green, MJ and Leyland, AH and Sweeting, H and Benzeval, M (2016) 'Adolescent smoking and tertiary education: opposing pathways linking socio-economic background to alcohol consumption.' Addiction, 111 (8). 1457 - 1465. ISSN 0965-2140

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Background and Aims If socio-economic 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 United Kingdom. Participants Participants were from the 1958 National Child Development Study (NCDS58; n = 15 672), the British birth cohort study (BCS70; n = 12 735) and the West of Scotland Twenty-07 1970s cohort (T07; n = 1515). Measurements Participants self-reported daily smoking and weekly drinking in adolescence (age 16 years) and heavy drinking (> 14/21 units in past week) in early adulthood (ages 22?26 years). Parental occupational class (manual versus non-manual) indicated socio-economic 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 socio-economic background being associated in opposite directions with these risk factors.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: Alcohol; education; life-course; pathways; smoking; socio-economic position
Subjects: H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
Divisions: Faculty of Social Sciences > Institute for Social and Economic Research
Depositing User: Jim Jamieson
Date Deposited: 24 May 2016 14:55
Last Modified: 09 Nov 2018 11:15

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