Social capital, the miniaturisation of community and consumption of homemade liquor and smuggled liquor during the past year. A population-based study

Martin Lindström
European Journal of Public Health 2005, 15 (6): 593-600

BACKGROUND: To study the impact of social participation, trust and the miniaturisation of community, i.e. high social participation/low trust, on consumption of homemade liquor and smuggled liquor during the past year.

METHODS: The Scania 2000 public health survey is a cross-sectional, postal questionnaire study. A total of 13,604 persons aged 18-80 years were included. A logistic regression model was used to investigate the association between the social capital variables and illegal alcohol consumption. The multivariate analyses analysed the importance of confounders (age, country of origin, education and economic stress) on the differences in consumption of homemade and smuggled liquor according to the social capital variables.

RESULTS: A 28.2% proportion of all men and 14.9% of all women had consumed homemade liquor during the past year. The proportions who had consumed smuggled liquor during the past year were even higher, 40.1% among men and 21.4% among women. Both forms of illegal alcohol consumption were significantly positively associated with social participation and negatively associated with trust. The miniaturisation of community category, i.e. high social participation/low trust, had significantly higher risks of consumption during the past year of the consumption of both forms of illegally provided alcohol compared to the high social capital (high social participation/high trust) category, while the low social participation/high trust category had significantly lower risks.

CONCLUSION: High social participation combined with low trust is positively associated with consumption of illegally provided alcohol. The results have implications for alcohol prevention programs, because structural/social factors that may hinder information and norms concerning illegal alcohol have been identified in this study.

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