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Maron, J., Kraus, L., Pogarell, O., Gomes de Matos, E., Piontek, D.

Occupational inequalities in psychoactive substance use: a question of conceptualization?


Addiction Research and Theory, 24(3), 186-198. doi: 10.3109/16066359.2015.1093122


Background: Three different conceptualizations of occupational prestige were contrasted by applying social stratification to four exemplarily selected psychoactive substances. Although these conceptualizations partly measure the same construct, it is hypothesized that the gradient of occupational inequality differs depending on the type of conceptualization. Method: Data were taken from the 2012 German Epidemiological Survey of Substance Abuse. The study sample comprised n=9084 individuals of the general population aged 18-64 years. Use and heavy use of cigarettes, alcohol, cannabis and analgesics were stratified by (a) employment status (six groups: employed, marginally employed, apprenticeship, unemployed, retired and other), (b) occupational status (five groups: low to high) and (c) occupational social class (two groups: blue-collar and white-collar). Absolute and relative differences between occupational groups were calculated. All analyses were stratified by gender. Results: Risk for smoking was increased amongst unemployed males and blue-collar workers. Retired persons, people with low occupational status and female blue-collar workers had a diminished risk for alcohol consumption; apprentices had an increased risk. Amongst males, low occupational status and blue-collar work was associated with episodic heavy drinking. Unemployment and blue-collar work was related to cannabis use. Risk for heavy analgesics use was increased amongst unemployed women, men with low occupational status and male blue-collar workers, respectively. Conclusions: The results suggest that occupational inequality differs depending on the applied conceptualizations of occupational prestige. Consequently, they should not be used interchangeably.


Gefördert durch das Bundesministerium für Gesundheit