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Age- and sex-specific income gradients in alcohol-related hospitalization rates in an urban area

Hwang SW, Agha MM, Creatore M, Glazier RH. Ann Epidemiol. 2005; 15(1):56-63.

Purpose — This study examines the effects of age and sex on the relationship between neighborhood income and alcohol-related hospitalization rates in a large urban area.

Methods — Adults in Toronto, Canada, who were hospitalized with an alcohol-related condition between 1995 and 1998 were identified using discharge diagnoses. Income quintiles were determined based on area of residence. Annual rates of hospitalization for alcohol-related conditions per 10,000 individuals were calculated.

Results — Rates of hospitalization with a primary diagnosis of an alcohol-related condition were similar among men age 20 to 39 in all incomes quintiles, but were inversely associated with income among men age 40 to 64 (28.8 and 13.3 per 10,000 in the lowest and highest income quintiles). Among women age 40 to 64, the lowest income quintile had the highest hospitalization rate (12.1 per 10,000), but women in all other income quintiles had relatively low hospitalization rates (5.9 to 7.7 per 10,000). As age increased above 65 years, rates of hospitalization with a primary diagnosis of an alcohol-related condition decreased or stabilized in both men and women.

Conclusions — The inverse association between income level and alcohol-related hospitalization rates becomes apparent after age 40. A gradient in hospitalization rates is seen in men across all income levels, but in women a prominent effect is seen only in those with the lowest income.

Keywords: Addiction Hospitalization Social determinants of health