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FSD2587 Finnish Drinking Habits Survey 2008

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Authors

  • Mäkelä, Pia (National Research and Development Centre for Welfare and Health (STAKES))
  • Mustonen, Heli (National Research and Development Centre for Welfare and Health (STAKES))

Keywords

addiction, alcohol smuggling, alcohol use, alcoholism, drinking behaviour, drinking offences, drug abuse, gambling, health

Abstract

The survey charted alcohol consumption and illegal drug use in Finland, type and volume of alcohol consumption and its consequences, general attitudes towards alcohol and gambling. Funding for the research was provided by the National Research and Development Centre for Welfare and Health (STAKES), Academy of Finland, Finnish Foundation for Alcohol Studies, and the Alcohol Programme of the Finnish Government. Similar surveys have been conducted at eight-year intervals in 1968, 1976, 1984, 1992 and 2000 but these are not archived at the FSD.

First, attitudes to alcohol were studied with several statements (e.g. one should not use alcohol in the presence of small children, people use too much alcohol in Finland, those who drink have more fun than those who don't). Alcohol use was charted with questions on beverage used with meals on Sundays, use of alcohol for medicinal purposes and general use of different beverages (beer, wine, home-brew, spirits etc). The data contain a constructed variable b27 defining the respondents as users or non-users of alcohol.

Non-users were presented with various statements charting the reasons for their abstinence. They were also asked about other people's attitudes and reactions to their non-use and previous alcohol consumption habits. Users of alcohol were asked about their alcohol consumption patterns, maximum volume used in one day, frequency of using various beverages, volume used generally at a time and where consumed, and how often they drank so much they could really feel it ('binge drinking'). The data also contain the following constructed variables: annual alcohol use (vkqfto08) and annual use by beverage type (vkqfol08, vkqfvi08, vkqfsi08 and vkqfvak08).

One theme pertained to importing, home distillation/brewing and smuggling alcohol. Questions covered the type and volume of alcohol imported, home-brewed or smuggled. Type and volume of smuggled alcohol bought were charted as well.

The survey covered instances of alcohol-related harm and other consequences of alcohol use. The respondents were asked how often they drink more or more frequently than they would have liked or had planned, could not stop drinking once had started, or had suffered from hangover. Problems caused for family, friendships, financial situation, health, work etc were investigated, likewise whether someone had tried to make them cut down on drinking. Further questions charted how often the respondents, when drinking, had gotten into a fight or a quarrel, had lost money or other property, been late for something, had got into an accident, been drink-driving, done things they regretted afterwards, etc. Problems caused for them by other people's alcohol consumption were also charted. The respondents evaluated whether their parents, spouse, children or other persons close to them had problems with alcohol.

Gambling, its frequency, winnings, sums used, self-perceived gambling problems and the relationship between drinking and gambling were also charted. A number of questions focused on the respondent's health, psychosocial health, control over own life, long-terms illnesses, weight and height, smoking and financial situation.

The paper questionnaire contained the ten-question Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Test (AUDIT) which studies alcohol consumption, drinking patterns and alcohol-related problems. Other questions covered use of sleeping pills, tranquillisers, or pain killers for non-medicinal purposes. Glue sniffing and other inhalant abuse was explored. The respondents were asked whether they knew persons who used illegal drugs, and whether they themselves had been offered or used drugs. Type and volume of drugs used (marihuana, hashish, heroin, LSD, ecstasy, amphetamine, GHB or GBL, crack or cocaine etc) and use of alcohol and drugs at the same time were investigated.

Background variables included the respondent's gender, year of birth, marital status, number of persons in the household, household composition, basic education, vocational education, economic activity, R's and spouse's socioeconomic status, degree of urbanisation of the municipality of residence, province, region (NUTS3), major region (NUTS2) and mother tongue.

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