Alcohol and Suicide in Russia, 1870-1894 and 1956-2005: Evidence for the Continuation of a Harmful Drinking Culture Across Time?
2011 (English)In: Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs, ISSN 1937-1888, Vol. 72, no 2, 341-347 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Objective: Previous research suggests that a strong relation exists between alcohol consumption and suicide in Soviet and post-Soviet Russia. This study extends this analysis across a much longer historical time frame by examining the relationship between heavy drinking and suicide in tsarist and post-World War II Russia. Method: Using alcohol poisoning mortality data as a proxy for heavy drinking, time-series analytical modeling techniques were used to examine the strength of the alcohol–suicide relation in the provinces of European Russia in the period 1870-1894 and for Russia in 1956-2005. Results: During 1870-1894, a decreasing trend was recorded in heavy drinking in Russia that contrasted with the sharp increase observed in this phenomenon in the post-World War II period. A rising trend in suicide was recorded in both study periods, although the increase was much greater in the latter period. The strength of the heavy drinking–suicide relation nevertheless remained unchanged across time, with a 10% increase in heavy drinking resulting in a 3.5% increase in suicide in tsarist Russia and a 3.8% increase in post-World War II Russia. Conclusions: Despite the innumerable societal changes that have occurred in Russia across the two study periods and the growth in the level of heavy drinking, the strength of the heavy drinking–suicide relation has remained unchanged across time. This suggests the continuation of a highly detrimental drinking culture where the heavy episodic drinking of distilled spirits (vodka) is an essential element in the alcohol–suicide association.
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2011. Vol. 72, no 2, 341-347 p.
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-55457ISI: 000288570800018OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-55457DiVA: diva2:404117