Socioeconomic position as a common cause for smoking, drinking, and psychiatric distress over the transition to adulthood

Green, Michael J. (2014) Socioeconomic position as a common cause for smoking, drinking, and psychiatric distress over the transition to adulthood. PhD thesis, University of Glasgow.

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Psychiatric distress, smoking and excessive alcohol consumption are common health problems which often occur together and are patterned by socioeconomic position. Smoking and drinking behaviours and mental health problems tend to develop over the transition from adolescence to adulthood, so this thesis aimed to investigate the mechanisms by which socioeconomic factors influence their co-development during this stage of life as young people make transitions into adult social roles. Data were primarily taken from three UK cohort studies (two nationwide birth cohorts respectively born in 1958 and 1970, and a cohort of adolescents from Glasgow who were also born in the early 1970s), so it was possible to examine whether mechanisms were context-dependent. Additional data from the youth sub-sample of the British Household Panel Study allowed investigation of socioeconomic inequalities in early adolescent smoking development in more recent history (1994-2008). A combination of person and variable centred analysis techniques (latent class analysis, structural equation modelling, propensity weighting, and event history analysis) were employed to investigate the role of socioeconomic background and transitions to adulthood in development of smoking, drinking and psychiatric distress in adolescence and early adulthood. Inverse probability weighting and multiple imputation were employed to account for missing data. A strong association was identified between socioeconomic disadvantage and adolescent smoking, despite recent increases in tobacco control in the UK. Smoking appeared to be an important mechanism, or at least a marker for other mechanisms, linking socioeconomic disadvantage to heavier drinking, psychiatric distress, and early school-leaving. Aside from smoking, there were other mechanisms leading to heavy drinking and psychiatric distress. For psychiatric distress, these were still mainly associated with socioeconomic disadvantage, especially in early adulthood, whereas for drinking there were mechanisms associated with socioeconomic advantage. Participation in tertiary education appeared to be an important example of such a mechanism, linking socioeconomic advantage to heavier drinking in early adulthood. Remaining in education was strongly linked to delaying other adulthood transitions, but different patterns of early transitions exhibited different associations with smoking, drinking and distress in different contexts. Tackling inequalities in smoking may help reduce inequalities in drinking and distress in adolescence and early adulthood, and policies increasing access to tertiary education should consider the deleterious effects on drinking behaviours.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Qualification Level: Doctoral
Keywords: Socioeconomic Position, Smoking, Drinking, Mental Health, Psychiatric Distress, Anxiety, Depression, Lifecourse, Transitions to Adulthood
Subjects: H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
H Social Sciences > HA Statistics
H Social Sciences > HM Sociology
Colleges/Schools: College of Social Sciences
Supervisor's Name: Benzeval, Dr. Michaela and Leyland, Professor Alastair H. and Sweeting, Dr. Helen
Date of Award: 2014
Depositing User: Dr Michael J Green
Unique ID: glathesis:2014-6238
Copyright: Copyright of this thesis is held by the author.
Date Deposited: 07 Apr 2015 08:33
Last Modified: 07 Apr 2015 08:51

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