Income and Alcohol Consumption: Investigating the Links between Lifecourse Income Trajectories and Adult Drinking Patterns

Magdalena Cerda, The New York Academy of Medicine
Vicki Johnson-Lawrence, University of Michigan
Sandro Galea, University of Michigan

Little research exists on the ways that lifecourse income trajectories, rather than static measures of income, influence alcohol consumption. We evaluated the relationship between household income trajectories in 1968-1996 and alcohol use in 1999-2003 in a sample of 7579 adults from the Panel Study of Income Dynamics. Latent class growth mixture models with a censored normal distribution were used to estimate lifetime income trajectory groups, while repeated measures cumulative logit models estimated the number of drinks consumed per day. The five-group trajectory model provided the best fit for the household income data. Lower lifetime income trajectories were associated with higher odds of reporting lower drinking levels. The association was independent of current income and wealth, education, employment, and marital history. This study indicates that health risk behaviors such as alcohol use may depend not only on the immediate social environment, but on the shape of lifetime patterns of socioeconomic conditions.

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Presented in Session 64: Social Determinants of Health Risking Behaviors