Psychosocial problems in childhood and later alcohol consumption: A life course approach with historical information

Janne Leino, Laura Kauhanen, Lasse Hokkinen, Sudhir Kurl, Sari Voutilainen, Jussi Kauhanen, Adetunji T. Toriola, John W. Lynch

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Aims: Childhood psychosocial problems have been associated with poor alcohol habits in adulthood. The purpose of this study was to investigate further the association in men by using information from historical health records. Methods: As part of the epidemiological FinDrink Study, we examined the association between childhood psychosocial problems and total ethanol consumption, binge drinking, and abstinence in later life among Finnish men. The participants were a sample from the Kuopio Ischaemic Heart Disease Risk Factor Study (KIHD), a population-based cohort study in eastern Finland. The data on childhood psychosocial factors were collected from health records (n = 952, 35.5% of the entire study sample), mainly from the 1930s to the 1950s. Questionnaire data on alcohol consumption were obtained from the baseline examinations of the KIHD cohort in 1984—1989. Results: Controlling for age and examination year, the men who had been considered psychosocially disadvantaged by elementary school nurses had a 2.72-fold (95% confidence interval 1.30—5.65) risk of bingeing on fortified wine in later life. After adjustment for adulthood behavioural and socioeconomic factors the association (odds ratio 3.71, 95% confidence interval 1.56—8.84) appeared even stronger. Childhood psychosocial problems also contributed to abstinence, but did not appear to increase the total amount of ethanol consumed. Conclusions: Psychosocial problems observed in boys seem to contribute to different alcohol habits in later life. However, the factors eventually involved in the manifestation of problematic drinking patterns through the life course still require further research.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)749-756
Number of pages8
JournalScandinavian Journal of Public Health
Issue number7
StatePublished - Nov 2011


  • Abstinence
  • alcohol
  • binge drinking
  • childhood
  • psychosocial problem


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