Living arrangements, heavy drinking and alcohol dependence

Kaisla Joutsenniemi, Tuija Martelin, Laura Kestilä, Pekka Martikainen, Sami Pirkola, Seppo Koskinen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

39 Citations (Scopus)


Aims: To assess the variation in heavy drinking and alcohol dependence by living arrangements, and the contribution of social and behavioural factors to this variation. Design: The Health 2000 survey is a nationally representative cross-sectional survey conducted in Finland in 2000-2001 (N = 4589 in the age-range of 30-54 years, response rate 81%). Measurements: Living arrangements; married, cohabiting, living with other(s) than a partner, and living alone. Consumption of beer, wine and spirits in the past month was converted into grams of alcohol/week, and heavy drinking was classified as ≥280 (men) and ≥140 (women) grams/week. Twelve-month prevalence of alcohol dependence was diagnosed by a mental health interview (CIDI). Findings: As compared to the married, cohabiting and living alone associated with heavy drinking (age-adjusted OR; 95% CI: 1.71;1.17-2.49 and OR 2.15;1.55-3.00 in men; OR 1.54;0.96-2.46 and OR 1.67;1.07-2.63 in women) and alcohol dependence (OR 2.29;1.44-3.64 and OR 3.66;2.39-5.59 in men; OR 2.56;1.10-5.94 and OR 4.43;2.03-9.64 in women). Living with other(s) than a partner associated with heavy drinking. Those who cohabited without children or lived alone had the highest odds for alcohol dependence. Among both genders, adjusting for main activity and financial difficulties attenuated the odds for heavy drinking and alcohol dependence by ∼5-30% each, and additionally among women adjusting for urbanisation attenuated the odds for heavy drinking by ∼15-45%. Conclusions: Cohabiting and living alone are associated with heavy drinking and alcohol dependence. Unemployment, financial difficulties and low social support, and among women also living in an urban area, seem to contribute to the excess risk.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)480-491
Number of pages12
JournalAlcohol and alcoholism
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2007
Externally publishedYes
Publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Toxicology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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