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Education, Alcohol Use and Abuse Among Young Adults in Britain


  • Maria del Carmen Huerta


  • Francesca Borgonovi



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. Measures of alcohol abuse include alcohol consumption above NHS guidelines, daily alcohol consumption and problem drinking. 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 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. Dans cet article, nous explorons le rapport entre l’éducation et la consommation d’alcool. Nous analysons si la probabilité de consommer de l’alcool de façon abusive diffère en fonction du niveau d’éducation. Nous utilisons des données de la British Cohort Study, une étude longitudinale menée pendant une semaine en Grande-Bretagne dans les années 70. L’évaluation de l’abus d’alcool inclut la consommation d’alcool située au dessus des normes NHS, la consommation quotidienne d’alcool et les problèmes d’alcoolisme. Le niveau d’éducation supérieur est associé à des risques accrus de consommation quotidienne d’alcool et à des problèmes avec l’alcool. La relation est plus forte chez les femmes que chez les hommes. Les individus qui obtiennent des notes élevées dans leur enfance ont significativement plus de risques d’avoir des problèmes avec l’alcool. Nos résultats suggèrent également que le niveau d’études ainsi que les performances scolaires augmentent les risques pour les femmes d’appartenir à ces différentes catégories de consommateurs d’alcool, alors que chez les hommes, le risque de consommation n’est pas lié au niveau d’éducation et est très faible en cas de performances scolaires élevées.

Suggested Citation

  • Maria del Carmen Huerta & Francesca Borgonovi, 2010. "Education, Alcohol Use and Abuse Among Young Adults in Britain," OECD Education Working Papers 50, OECD Publishing.
  • Handle: RePEc:oec:eduaab:50-en

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    Cited by:

    1. Borgonovi, Francesca, 2010. "A life-cycle approach to the analysis of the relationship between social capital and health in Britain," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 71(11), pages 1927-1934, December.
    2. Sutherland, Alex, 2012. "Is parental socio-economic status related to the initiation of substance abuse by young people in an English city? An event history analysis," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 74(7), pages 1053-1061.
    3. 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.

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