Educational success and a good secondary and university education provide the individual with a range of health promotion resources that can partially counteract drinking’s negative health effects. Other factors which, according to the scientists, may underlie both poor grades and alcohol-related ill health in later life are psychological and social problems, such as depression, attention problems and bullying.
“When Swedish public health reports compare groups with different education level, they find no significant differences with regard to alcohol consumption. Our results could therefore be explained by that a socially vulnerable situation may contribute to that alcohol consumption has serious health consequences”, says Karl Gauffin, a PhD student at the Department of Public Health at Karolinska Institutet and tied to the Centre for Health Equity Studies.
Previous studies have indicated a link between low socio-economic background of childhood and alcohol-related disease later in life. The present study shows that socioeconomic differences in school performance may explain the link, according to the researchers.
“Alcohol is a major contributor to intergenerational inequalities in health. Our research shows the importance of the school to promote the general health and equalize the growing health disparities”, says Karl Gauffin.
Centre for Health Equity Studies (CHESS) is a collaboration between Karolinska Institutet and Stockholm University.
The article School performance and alcohol-related disorders in early adulthood: a Swedish national cohort study can be found in the International Journal of Epidemiology.