Date Published: November 3, 2011
Publisher: SAGE-Hindawi Access to Research
Author(s): Laura Kauhanen, Janne Leino, Hanna-Maaria Lakka, John W. Lynch, Jussi Kauhanen.
Objective. The purpose of this study was to investigate associations between adverse childhood experiences and binge drinking and drunkenness in adulthood using both historical and recalled data from childhood. Methods. Data on childhood adverse experiences were collected from school health records and questionnaires completed in adulthood. Adulthood data were obtained from the baseline examinations of the male participants (n = 2682) in the Kuopio Ischaemic Heart Disease Risk Factor Study (KIHD) in 1984–1989 from eastern Finland. School health records from the 1930s to 1950s were available for a subsample of KIHD men (n = 952). Results. According to the school health records, men who had adverse childhood experiences had a 1.51-fold (95% CI 1.05 to 2.18) age- and examination-year adjusted odds of binge drinking in adulthood. After adjustment for socioeconomic position in adulthood or behavioural factors in adulthood, the association remained unchanged. Adjustment for socioeconomic position in childhood attenuated these effects. Also the recalled data showed associations with adverse childhood experiences and binge drinking with different beverages. Conclusions. Our findings suggest that childhood adversities are associated with increased risk of binge drinking in adulthood.
Binge drinking is commonly defined as consuming five or more servings of alcohol at a time. In Nordic countries, however, consuming six or more alcoholic units of one type of beverage on one drinking occasion is often used in research [1, 2]. It is also a threshold for risky drinking according to the National Institute of Health and Welfare in Finland . Binge drinking is associated with multiple adverse health outcomes [4–9] and is common in the Eastern European and Nordic countries [10, 11]. For example in a study by Paljärvi et al., an increasing volume of alcohol consumption increased the risk of fatal injury . In Finland, alcohol consumption increased quite steadily in the past decades at least until the mid-2000s. In 2008, the total annual consumption per capita was 10.4 litres of pure alcohol, which is somewhat above the average consumption level in the European countries . Approximately, 25% of men and 10% of women binge when they consume alcohol . Binge-drinking behaviour among young people has also been increasing since 2007, except in the youngest age group of 14 years according to the Adolescent Health and Lifestyle survey 2009. In 2009, 22% of boys and 21% of girls aged 14–18 years got heavily drunk on a monthly basis. The prevalence of problem drinkers among young people is 5–10% .
Our findings suggest that certain adverse childhood experiences increase the risk of binge drinking in adulthood even after adjustment for behavioural factors in adulthood and for the socioeconomic position in adulthood. The association was seen in both historical and the questionnaire-based data providing some cross-validation of the effects observed. Authentic historical records may give additional and more accurate information of the association although in some of the analyses there is the effect of power loss due to smaller numbers available for the analyses. According to the historical records, bingeing with any beverage showed the strongest associations with adverse childhood experiences after adjusting for age, examination year, socioeconomic position in adulthood, and behavioural factors. After adjusting for socioeconomic position in childhood or all covariates, the effect estimates did not change much, but the results no longer reached traditional levels of statistical significance.
Both historical archive data and the recall data suggest that adverse childhood experiences are associated with increased odds of binge-drinking behaviour in adulthood. Authentic historical records may give additional and more accurate information of the association, although in some of the analyses there is the effect of power loss due to smaller numbers in the analyses.