Is the Theory of Collectivity of Drinking Cultures Valid Across Educational Groups?
To explore whether Skog’s theory of collectivity of drinking [alcohol using] cultures is valid across groups with different socioeconomic position (SEP).
Individual‐level information on alcohol consumption and SEP for the years 2004–2014 were retrieved from the Monitoring Project; a nationally representative monthly alcohol use survey. The analytical sample consisted of 162 369 respondents aged 25–79 years. SEP was measured by education level. Alcohol use was measured by yearly volume of consumption and frequency of heavy episodic [alcohol use] drinking (HED). Respondents were divided into six SEP‐groups based on their education level and sex. Mean yearly volume consumption and prevalence of monthly HED was calculated for each group and graphically plotted against the overall mean volume of consumption.
The yearly changes in overall mean consumption during the study period reflected a collective shift in alcohol use across groups with basic, intermediate and high education. There were also indications that changes in overall mean consumption reflected collective shifts in the prevalence of HED across the SEP‐groups. Moreover, while the magnitude of the associations for both average volume and HED differed somewhat in strength across the SEP‐groups, they were clearly in the same, positive, direction.
Discussion and Conclusions
The findings add support for including a socioeconomic dimension to Skog’s theory of collectivity of drinking [alcohol using] cultures. Future studies should replicate our analyses on cases and periods with more tangible changes in the price and availability of alcohol.