Associations between self-reported illness and non-drinking in young adults
Article first published online: 8 MAY 2012
© 2012 The Authors, Addiction © 2012 Society for the Study of Addiction
Volume 107, Issue 9, pages 1612–1620, September 2012
How to Cite
Ng Fat, L. and Shelton, N. (2012), Associations between self-reported illness and non-drinking in young adults. Addiction, 107: 1612–1620. doi: 10.1111/j.1360-0443.2012.03878.x
- Issue published online: 2 AUG 2012
- Article first published online: 8 MAY 2012
- Accepted manuscript online: 9 MAR 2012 12:00AM EST
- Submitted 15 September 2011; initial review completed 30 November 2011; final version accepted 5 March 2012
- England J-shape;
- long-standing illness;
- non-drinker poor health;
- young people
Aims This study investigated associations between self-reported illness, social factors and health behaviours and non-drinking among young people aged 18–34 years.
Design Logistic regression analysis of cross-sectional national survey data, collected from the Health Survey for England 2006 and 2008. Data were collected through face-to-face interviews and are self-reported.
Participants and settings A total of 2826 male and 3618 females aged 18–34 years drawn from a nationally representative multi-stage stratified probability sampling design across England.
Measurements Non-drinkers were based on those who reported ‘no’ to drinking alcohol currently. Exposure measures included self-reports of having a limiting long-standing illness, long-standing illness or self-reported poor health. We adjusted for ethnicity, income, education, general physical activity and other factors.
Findings Having a limiting long-standing illness during early adulthood increased the odds of being a non-drinker 1.74 times for men (P < 0.01) and 1.45 times for women (P < 0.01). In both men and women belonging to the lowest income quintile or having no qualifications was associated with increased odds of being a non-drinker (P < 0.001), indicating that the social gradient in non-drinking begins at an early age. Men and women aged 18–34 years with the lowest activity levels were also more likely to be non-drinkers (P < 0.01).
Conclusion Young adults who have a limiting long-standing illness are more likely not to drink alcohol even after adjusting for a range of social and demographic measures. Studies on the putative health benefits of moderate alcohol consumption later in life need to take account of early life history.