Young cohorts of Russians drink less: age–period–cohort modelling of alcohol use prevalence 1994–2016
Background and aims. Young Russians have been drinking less alcohol, and fewer strong spirits in particular, in recent years. This study aimed to disentangle age, period and birth cohort effects for the first time in Russia to improve our understanding of these trends. Design. Age, period and cohort analysis of annual nationally representative repeated cross-sectional surveys [Russian Longitudinal Monitoring Survey – Higher School of Economics (RLMS-HSE)] using separate logistic models for each gender. Setting. Russia 1994–2016. Participants. A total of 195234 respondents aged 14 – 85 years. Measurements. Age (14 groups: 14-17 to 76+ years), period (21 years: 1994–2016) and birth cohorts (17 groups: 1920 –24 to 2000–02). Outcome measures were 30-day overall and beverage-specific alcohol use prevalence accounting for vodka, moonshine, beer and wine. Controls were per capita income, education, marital status, ethnicity, residence type and regional climate. Findings. Controlling for age and period effects, the most recent cohorts had lower rates of participation than older cohorts. Findings were valid for females born in 1995–2002 (P= 0.000) and males born in 1990–94 (P= 0.002) and 1995 –2002 (P= 0.000). The period effects were strong in 1994–2003 due to intensive substitution of beer in place of vodka. Period effects were also important in determining a decline of prevalence in 2008–15 due to restrictive alcohol policy. Age effects showed an inverse U-shaped trend in both genders, except for moonshine and wine. Overall, drinking profiles were beverage-specific. Models indicated diverse beverage-specific effects of income, ethnicity, education, marital status and residence on the prevalence of alcohol use. Conclusion. The recent downward trend in alcohol use in Russia appears to be attributable to reduced participation rates among younger cohorts born after 1990.