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Is the duration of poverty and unemployment a risk factor for heavy drinking?


  • Mossakowski, Krysia N.


Research on the influence of socioeconomic status (SES) on heavy drinking of alcohol has provided contradictory findings. A limitation of the literature is that studies have primarily measured SES at one point in time. Inspired by the life course perspective and sociological research on chronic stress, this study uses data from the US National Longitudinal Survey of Youth (1979-1992 wave) to examine whether the duration of poverty and unemployment is a risk factor for heavy drinking. Results from logistic and ordinary least squares regression analyses demonstrate that longer durations of poverty and involuntary unemployment across a span of 13 years significantly predict being a heavy drinker and more frequent heavy drinking at ages 27-35 years. These effects are independent of gender, age, race/ethnicity, marital status, prior heavy drinking, and present SES. Overall, this study contributes to the literature that histories of poverty and involuntary unemployment have lasting effects on heavy drinking. More studies should use longitudinal data to explore the temporal dimension of SES.

Suggested Citation

  • Mossakowski, Krysia N., 2008. "Is the duration of poverty and unemployment a risk factor for heavy drinking?," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 67(6), pages 947-955, September.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:socmed:v:67:y:2008:i:6:p:947-955

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Antelo, Manel & Magdalena, Pilar & Reboredo, Juan C., 2017. "Economic crisis and the unemployment effect on household food expenditure: The case of Spain," Food Policy, Elsevier, vol. 69(C), pages 11-24.
    2. Huerta, Maria C. & Borgonovi, Francesca, 2010. "Education, alcohol use and abuse among young adults in Britain," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 71(1), pages 143-151, July.
    3. Rohde, Nicholas & Tang, Kam Ki & Osberg, Lars & Rao, D.S. Prasada, 2017. "Is it vulnerability or economic insecurity that matters for health?," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 134(C), pages 307-319.
    4. Moniek C. M. Goeij & Jan-Willem Bruggink & Ferdy Otten & Anton E. Kunst, 2017. "Harmful drinking after job loss: a stronger association during the post-2008 economic crisis?," International Journal of Public Health, Springer;Swiss School of Public Health (SSPH+), vol. 62(5), pages 563-572, June.
    5. Urbanos-Garrido, Rosa M. & Gonzalez Lopez-Valcarcel, Beatriz, 2013. "Desempleo y salud: Un análisis de la repercusión de la crisis económica sobre la salud de los españoles/Unemployment and Health: An Analysis of the Impact of the Economic Crisis on the Health of the S," Estudios de Economia Aplicada, Estudios de Economia Aplicada, vol. 31, pages 303-326, Septiembr.
    6. Kåre Bævre & Øystein Kravdal, 2014. "The effects of earlier income variation on mortality: An analysis of Norwegian register data," Population Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 68(1), pages 81-94, March.
    7. Boden, Joseph M. & Lee, Jungeun Olivia & Horwood, L. John & Grest, Carolina Villamil & McLeod, Geraldine F.H., 2017. "Modelling possible causality in the associations between unemployment, cannabis use, and alcohol misuse," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 175(C), pages 127-134.
    8. Rosa Urbanos-Garrido & Beatriz Lopez-Valcarcel, 2015. "The influence of the economic crisis on the association between unemployment and health: an empirical analysis for Spain," The European Journal of Health Economics, Springer;Deutsche Gesellschaft für Gesundheitsökonomie (DGGÖ), vol. 16(2), pages 175-184, March.
    9. Garcy, Anthony M. & Vågerö, Denny, 2012. "The length of unemployment predicts mortality, differently in men and women, and by cause of death: A six year mortality follow-up of the Swedish 1992–1996 recession," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 74(12), pages 1911-1920.
    10. Lantis, Robert & Teahan, Brittany, 2018. "The effect of unemployment insurance on alcohol use and abuse following job loss," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 30(C), pages 92-103.
    11. Alexandrina Stoyanova & Jaime Pinilla, 2020. "The Evolution of Mental Health in the Context of Transitory Economic Changes," Applied Health Economics and Health Policy, Springer, vol. 18(2), pages 203-221, April.
    12. Shaykhi, Farzin & Ghayour-Minaie, Matin & Toumbourou, John W., 2018. "Impact of the Resilient Families intervention on adolescent antisocial behavior: 14-month follow-up within a randomized trial," Children and Youth Services Review, Elsevier, vol. 93(C), pages 484-491.
    13. Liu, Hong & Zhao, Zhong, 2014. "Parental job loss and children's health: Ten years after the massive layoff of the SOEs' workers in China," China Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 31(C), pages 303-319.
    14. Lee, Jungeun Olivia & Hill, Karl G. & Hartigan, Lacey A. & Boden, Joseph M. & Guttmannova, Katarina & Kosterman, Rick & Bailey, Jennifer A. & Catalano, Richard F., 2015. "Unemployment and substance use problems among young adults: Does childhood low socioeconomic status exacerbate the effect?," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 143(C), pages 36-44.
    15. Roelfs, David J. & Shor, Eran & Davidson, Karina W. & Schwartz, Joseph E., 2011. "Losing life and livelihood: A systematic review and meta-analysis of unemployment and all-cause mortality," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 72(6), pages 840-854, March.
    16. Ioana Popovici & Michael T. French, 2013. "Does Unemployment Lead to Greater Alcohol Consumption?," Industrial Relations: A Journal of Economy and Society, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 52(2), pages 444-466, April.
    17. Cerdá, Magdalena & Johnson-Lawrence, Vicki D. & Galea, Sandro, 2011. "Lifetime income patterns and alcohol consumption: Investigating the association between long- and short-term income trajectories and drinking," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 73(8), pages 1178-1185.
    18. Yana C. Vierboom, 2020. "Trends in Alcohol-Related Mortality by Educational Attainment in the U.S., 2000–2017," Population Research and Policy Review, Springer;Southern Demographic Association (SDA), vol. 39(1), pages 77-97, February.
    19. Latif, Ehsan, 2014. "The impact of recession on drinking and smoking behaviours in Canada," Economic Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 42(C), pages 43-56.
    20. Rosenthal, Lisa & Carroll-Scott, Amy & Earnshaw, Valerie A. & Santilli, Alycia & Ickovics, Jeannette R., 2012. "The importance of full-time work for urban adults' mental and physical health," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 75(9), pages 1692-1696.
    21. Mossakowski, Krysia N., 2011. "Unfulfilled expectations and symptoms of depression among young adults," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 73(5), pages 729-736, September.
    22. Reinhard Schunck & Benedikt Rogge, 2010. "Unemployment and its association with health-relevant actions: investigating the role of time perspective with German census data," International Journal of Public Health, Springer;Swiss School of Public Health (SSPH+), vol. 55(4), pages 271-278, August.


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