AIMS: Greater area-level relative deprivation has been related to poorer health behaviours, but studies specifically on alcohol use and abuse have been equivocal. The main purpose of the present study was to investigate how area-level relative deprivation in Denmark relates to alcohol use and misuse in the country.
METHODS: As individual-level data, we used the national alcohol and drug survey of 2011 ( n= 5133). Data were procured from Statistics Denmark to construct an index of relative deprivation at the parish level ( n=2119). The deprivation index has two components, which were divided into quintiles. Multilevel linear and logistic regressions analysed the influence of area deprivation on mean alcohol use and hazardous drinking, as measured by the Alcohol Use Disorder Identification Test.
RESULTS: Men who lived in parishes designated as 'very deprived' on the socioeconomic component were more likely to consume less alcohol; women who lived in parishes designated as 'deprived' on the housing component were less likely to drink hazardously. But at the individual level, education was positively related to mean alcohol consumption, and higher individual income was positively related to mean consumption for women. Higher-educated men were more likely to drink hazardously.
CONCLUSIONS: Area-level measures of relative deprivation were not strongly related to alcohol use, yet in the same models individual-level socioeconomic variables had a more noticeable influence. This suggests that in a stronger welfare state, the impact of area-level relative deprivation may not be as great. Further work is needed to develop more sensitive measures of relative deprivation.