The Decline in Alcohol Consumption in Russia from 2006 to 2017: Do Birth Cohorts Matter?
Aim: Previous studies on youth drinking showed opposite trends for high-income and low-income countries. In Russia, a recent decline was observed in the prevalence of alcohol use, particularly among younger cohorts. This study aims at disentangling age and birth cohort effects to better understand the dynamics of abstinence and the volume of alcohol consumption. Methods: Data were collected from annual nationally representative panel surveys from 2006 to 2017. Data included 34,514 individuals aged 14–80. We estimated mixed-effects binary-choice models for percentage of abstainers and mixed-effects linear models with Heckman correction for alcohol volume. Integer variables of age and age-squared were used. Period was defined with a dummy variable using 2012 as the dividing line associated with a new Russian alcohol policy. Birth cohorts were defined as 13 groups from 1930–1939 to 2000–2003. Controls were per capita income, education, marital status, composition of households, body weight, ethnicity, residence type, regional per capita income and regional climate. Results: In both genders, percentage of abstainers increased and drinking volumes declined. Age for both genders showed u-shaped trend for abstinence and inverse u-shaped trend for alcohol volume. Controlling for age effects, cohorts born after 1990 demonstrated the strongest increase in abstinence for both genders and the strongest decrease in alcohol volume for males. The period of 2012–2017 had the effect of increasing the abstinence and decreasing the alcohol volume. Conclusion: Downward trend in alcohol consumption in Russia is partially attributable to increased abstinence and reduced alcohol volume among younger cohorts.