Childhood and current determinants of heavy drinking in early adulthood

Laura Kestilä, Tuija Martelin, Ossi Rahkonen, Kaisla Joutsenniemi, Sami Pirkola, Kari Poikolainen, Seppo Koskinen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review


"Aims: To explore the association of parental education, childhood living conditions and several adversities with heavy drinking in early adulthood, and to analyze the effect of the respondent's current circumstances on these associations. Method: The analyses were conducted in a sample of 1234 adults aged 18-29 years participating in the Finnish Health 2000 Survey (65% of the original representative two-stage cluster sample, N = 1894). The outcome measure was heavy drinking measured by g/week for pure alcohol (for men >= 280 g/week and for women >= 140 g/week). Results: 8% of young adult men and 5% of women were heavy drinkers. In both genders, parental alcohol problems and other childhood adversities, poor own education, and unemployment status increased the risk of heavy drinking. The impact of childhood on heavy drinking was partly independent and partly mediated by adult characteristics, in particular, for both genders, low level of education. Conclusions: Childhood adversities are associated with heavy drinking in early adulthood among both genders. Childhood social circumstances as well as low educational level and unemployment should be taken into account in planning preventive policies to tackle the harms caused by excessive alcohol use at the individual and population level."
Original languageEnglish
JournalAlcohol and Alcoholism
Issue number4
Pages (from-to)460-469
Number of pages10
Publication statusPublished - 2008
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed

Fields of Science

  • 314 Health sciences

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