199968 Alcohol consumption during sociopolitical transition: The case of Russia

Tuesday, November 10, 2009: 1:42 PM

Francesca J.A. Perlman, MD PhD , Ecohost, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, London, United Kingdom
Background: Heavy alcohol consumption is widespread in Russia, but few surveys have measured annual or 2-yearly drinking trends during the transition from Communism.

Methods: Data were from 9 rounds (1994-2004) of the 38-centre Russia Longitudinal Monitoring Survey, in respondents aged over 18 (>7,000 per round). Trends in alcohol frequency, quantity per occasion (by beverage type) and 2 potentially harmful measures were studied: frequent, heavy drinking (≥80g per occasion and >weekly); consuming samogon (cheap home-distilled spirit). Trends were compared with the simultaneous changes in macroeconomic conditions and mortality. Logistic regression was used to analyse determinants of changes in harmful consumption between 1996-8 (before and after a financial crash).

Results: Frequent, heavy drinking was widespread amongst men (12- 17%) throughout, especially the middle aged and less educated; however there was a sharp, temporary fall between 1996 and 1998. Samogon consumption rose from 6-18% between 1996-2000, declining to 12% by 2004. Between 1996-8 (before and after the financial crisis), ceasing frequent, heavy drinking was predicted by loss of employment; and commencing drinking samogon was significantly associated with rural residence, material poverty, very heavy drinking and financial pessimism. These findings were unexplained by losses to follow-up

Conclusions: Rapid economic decline in Russia led to a short, sharp fall in heavy drinking, and a slower increase in consuming home distilled spirit, which remains widespread. Trends in consumption and national mortality were not clearly related. Potential study limitations include difficulty in measuring multiple beverages consumed per occasion, and not specifically recording "surrogate" alcohols.

Learning Objectives:
Identify different patterns of harmful alcohol consumption at a population level Assess the impact of macroeconomic change on alcohol consumption in a rapidly transitioning society

Keywords: Alcohol, Epidemiology

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I designed the analyses, analysed the data and interpreted the findings
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.