Article Text

Download PDFPDF

Birth cohort trends in the global epidemiology of alcohol use and alcohol-related harms in men and women: systematic review and metaregression
  1. Tim Slade1,
  2. Cath Chapman1,
  3. Wendy Swift1,
  4. Katherine Keyes2,
  5. Zoe Tonks1,
  6. Maree Teesson1
  1. 1NHMRC Centre of Research Excellence in Mental Health and Substance Use, National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre, University of New South Wales, Randwick, New South Wales, Australia
  2. 2Columbia University, Mailman School of Public Health, New York, New York, USA
  1. Correspondence to Dr Tim Slade; tims{at}unsw.edu.au

Abstract

Objective Historically, alcohol use and related harms are more prevalent in men than in women. However, emerging evidence suggests the epidemiology of alcohol use is changing in younger cohorts. The current study aimed to systematically summarise published literature on birth cohort changes in male-to-female ratios in indicators of alcohol use and related harms.

Methods We identified 68 studies that met inclusion criteria. We calculated male-to-female ratios for 3 broad categories of alcohol use and harms (any alcohol use, problematic alcohol use and alcohol-related harms) stratified by 5-year birth cohorts ranging from 1891 to 2001, generating 1568 sex ratios. Random-effects meta-analyses produced pooled sex ratios within these 3 categories separately for each birth cohort.

Findings There was a linear decrease over time in the sex ratio for all 3 categories of alcohol use and related harms. Among those born in the early 1900s, males were 2.2 (95% CI 1.9 to 2.5) times more likely than females to consume alcohol, 3.0 (95% CI 1.5 to 6.0) times more likely to drink alcohol in ways suggestive of problematic use and 3.6 (95% CI 0.4 to 30.3) times more likely to experience alcohol-related harms. Among cohorts born in the late 1900s, males were 1.1 (95% CI 1.1 to 1.2) times more likely than females to consume alcohol, 1.2 (95% CI 1.1 to 1.4) times more likely to drink alcohol in ways suggestive of problematic use and 1.3 (95% CI 1.2 to 1.3) times more likely to experience alcohol-related harms.

Conclusions Findings confirm the closing male–female gap in indicators of alcohol use and related harms. The closing male–female gap is most evident among young adults, highlighting the importance of prospectively tracking young male and female cohorts as they age into their 30s, 40s and beyond.

  • alcohol
  • sex differences
  • males
  • females

This is an Open Access article distributed in accordance with the Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial (CC BY-NC 4.0) license, which permits others to distribute, remix, adapt, build upon this work non-commercially, and license their derivative works on different terms, provided the original work is properly cited and the use is non-commercial. See: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/

View Full Text

Statistics from Altmetric.com

Supplementary materials

Request Permissions

If you wish to reuse any or all of this article please use the link below which will take you to the Copyright Clearance Center’s RightsLink service. You will be able to get a quick price and instant permission to reuse the content in many different ways.