Developments in drinking behavior in the Netherlands from 1958 to 1989, a cohort analysis



Alcohol consumption in the Netherlands increased at a very fast rate from 1960 to 1975, especially among young men. The question is raised whether members of the cohort that started drinking during the 1960s show a lasting deviation from cohorts born earlier with respect to drinking behavior. Cohort analysis is used to assess the effects of aging, period and cohort membership on changes in abstinence, mean consumption and heavy drinking in the Netherlands in the last three decades. Social interaction theory (Skog, 1980) is used as an interpretative framework. Conclusions are that abstinence is related w aging, while mean consumption and heavy drinking are associated with period effects. Populations of men and women appear to change drinking behavior collectively. Results on women are more regular than those on men.