Economic change, alcohol consumption and heart disease mortality in nine industrialized countries

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This paper examines the question of whether economic changes-including economic growth, unemployment and business failures-and alcohol consumption by beverage type are independently related to heart disease mortality. Controls for cigarette and animal fat consumption are also employed in a multivariate time series analysis. Data for nine countries in the post World War II era are investigated: Australia, Canada, England and Wales, Denmark, Federal Republic of Germany, Finland, France, Sweden and the United States. In all nine countries unemployment and business failures are positively related to heart disease mortality, and in eight countries the trend of economic growth shows an inverse relationship. The relation of alcohol consumption to heart disease mortality depends on beverage type. When spirits or wine consumption shows a significant relation, occasionally requiring controls for other beverages, it is positive. On the other hand, beer consumption shows an inverse relation to heart disease mortality in all countries. The statistical significance of that relationship also occasionally must be based on controls for other beverages.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)119-132
Number of pages14
JournalSocial Science and Medicine
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1987


  • alcohol consumption
  • heart disease
  • stress
  • times series analysis
  • unemployment


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