Differential trends in alcohol-related mortality: a register-based follow-up study in Finland in 1987-2003.Alcohol Alcohol. 2007 Sep-Oct; 42(5):456-64.AA
To assess to what extent alcohol-related mortality has changed by age, sex and education in Finland in 1987-2003, a period which saw two periods of economic growth, separated by a severe depression (1991-1995).
A register-based follow-up study of all over 15-year-old Finnish men and women. Age, sex and education of the participants were measured at the time of the 1985, 1990, 1995 and 2000 censuses. Follow-up for mortality was for 1987-2003. The outcome measure was alcohol-related mortality, which was defined using information on the underlying and contributory causes of death.
Among men and women aged 45 years and over, the trends in alcohol-related mortality were associated with economic cycles. Among those aged less than 45 years, alcohol-related mortality decreased from the early 1990s, but intoxication-related accidents and violence still contributed largely to premature mortality. The unfavourable trend for older men resulted from an increase in mortality due to directly alcohol-attributable diseases, alcohol-related diseases of the circulatory system and accidents and violence, and for older women from an increase due to intoxication-related accidents and violence, and alcohol-attributable diseases. Alcohol-related mortality was higher in lower educational groups, and among women the educational gap widened towards the end of the study period.
This study shows that trends in both economic conditions and per capita consumption of alcohol are not associated with trends in alcohol-related mortality in all population subgroups. In health policy more attention should be paid to divergent trends in gender, age and education specific alcohol-related mortality.