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The authors declare that they have no competing interests.
JGB, PM and SPN designed the study. JGB secured the data. PM and BP performed the statistical analysis. BP and CT prepared the first draft of the manuscript. PM, SPN and JGB participated in interpretation of the findings and contributed to the manuscript. All authors read and approved the final manuscript to be published.
Little population-based data among middle-aged adults exists examining the relationships between depressive symptoms, alcohol use, and socio-economic status (SES). This study aimed to describe the relationships between depressive symptoms and alcohol use at different levels of SES and to determine differences across SES levels among a population-based sample of 40 and 45 year old adults in Norway.
This analysis was based on data from two Norwegian health studies conducted in 2000 and 2001, and included community-dwelling Norwegian men and women aged 40 and 45 years. Self-reported frequency and quantity of alcoholic drinks was used to calculate past-year typical quantity of drinks consumed and frequency of 5+ drinks per occasion, or heavy episodic drinking (HED). Depressive symptoms were assessed with the 10-item Hopkins Symptom Checklist, and SES was measured as education level and employment status. To observe the association between depressive symptoms and alcohol use at each level of SES we fitted multinomial logistic regression models using each alcohol outcome as a dependent variable stratified by level of education and employment. To observe differences across levels of SES, we examined the interaction between depressive symptoms and SES level in multinomial logistic regression models for each alcohol measures.
Having depressive symptoms was significantly associated with an increased risk of 5+ typical drinks among people in the lowest (RRR = 1.60, p ≤ 0.05) education level, and not among people in the highest. Conversely, significant associations were observed among all levels of employment. For frequency of HED, depressive symptoms was not significantly associated with frequency of HED at any education level. Depressive symptoms was associated with 13+ past year HED episodes among people with no employment (RRR = 1.97, p ≤ 0.05), and part-time employment (RRR = 2.33, p ≤ 0.01), and no association was observed among people with full-time employment. A significant interaction was observed for depressive symptoms and employment for risk of 13+ past-year HED episodes.
The results show a variety of associations between depressive symptoms and alcohol use among people with lower SES, and suggest type of alcohol use and SES measure may influence the observation of an association between depressive symptoms and alcohol use at different SES levels.