Emelie Thern1,2, Mats Ramstedt1,3 & Johan Svensson1,4
(1) The Swedish Council for Information on Alcohol and Other Drugs (CAN), Stockholm, Sweden,
(2) Department of Public Health Sciences, Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, Sweden,
(3) Department of Clinical Neuroscience, Karolinska Institutet, Solna, Sweden and
(4) Department of Public Health Sciences, Stockholm University, Stockholm, Sweden
Correspondence to: Emelie Thern, The Swedish Council for Information on Alcohol and Other Drugs (CAN), Klara Norra Kyrkogatan 34, 107 25 Stockholm,
Sweden. E-mail: email@example.com
Aim To test if exposure to unemployment in young adulthood is associated with an increased risk of later alcohol-related morbidity. Design A nation-wide register-linked longitudinal population-based study. Setting Sweden. Participants A total of 16490 individuals born between 1967 and 1978, who had participated in the Labour Force Survey between the ages of 16–24 years during 1990–95. Measurement Information on the outcome of alcohol-related morbidity was obtained from the National Hospital Discharge Register. The Swedish index of alcohol-related in-patient care was used to define the outcome. Information on sex, age and country of birth, as well as parents’ level of education, socioeconomic status and alcohol-related health problems, were also obtained. Average follow-up time was 22 years. Cox regression analysis was used to obtain hazard ratios (HR) with 95% confidence intervals (CI). Findings Compared with full-time students, individuals who experienced short- and long-term unemployment spells at a young age were at an increased risk of later alcohol-related morbidity; < 3 months (HR = 2.04, 95% CI = 1.35–3.09), 3–6 months (HR = 2.20, 95% CI = 1.29–3.75) and > 6 months (HR = 1.99, 95% CI = 1.06–3.71) of unemployment, after adjusting for several important individual and family level covariates. Conclusion In Sweden, a nation-wide register-based study with a 22-year follow-up suggests that being unemployed in young adulthood is associated with an increased risk of alcohol related morbidity later in life. Keywords alcohol, hospitalization, register-based, Sweden, unemployment, young adults.