Social capital, political trust and purchase of illegal liquor: a population-based study in southern Sweden

Martin Lindström
Health Policy 2008, 86 (2): 266-75

AIMS: To investigate the association between political trust in the Riksdag (the national parliament in Sweden) and having purchased illegal liquor during the past 12 months.

METHODS: The 2004 public health survey in Skåne is a cross-sectional postal questionnaire study answered by 27,757 respondents aged 18-80 with a 59% response rate. A logistic regression model was used to investigate the associations between political trust and having purchased illegal liquor during the past 12 months. Multivariate analyses of political trust and having purchased illegal liquor were performed in order to investigate the importance of possible confounders (including generalized/horizontal trust in other people).

RESULTS: A 21.2% fraction of the men and 9.6% of the women had purchased illegal alcohol during the past 12 months. A total of 17.3% and 11.6% of the male and female respondents, respectively, reported that they had no trust at all in the national parliament, and another 38.2% and 36.2%, respectively, reported that their political trust was not particularly high. Respondents in younger age groups, with medium/low education, economic stress, low horizontal trust and not particularly high and no political trust at all and no opinion had significantly higher levels of having purchased illegal liquor. The significant odds ratios of having purchased illegal liquor in the not particularly high political trust and no political trust at all categories were somewhat reduced although still significant after multiple adjustments.

CONCLUSION: The results suggest that political trust may have an independent effect on the propensity to purchase illegal liquor in Sweden.

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