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Twenty then - today about thirty-five. The meaning of alcohol in a life course perspective

  • Claes Törnqvist
Publiceringsår: 2007
Språk: Engelska
Sidor: 563-587
Publikation/Tidskrift/Serie: Nordic Studies on Alcohol and Drugs
Volym: 24
Nummer: 6
Dokumenttyp: Artikel i tidskrift
Förlag: Stakes, Forsknings- och utvecklingscentralen för social- och hälsovården i samarbete med Nordiska nämnden för alkohol- och drogforskning (NAD)


Aim: Studying changes between the ages of 20 and 35 in the use of alcohol and its meaning to the user and the relation of this to cultural background.

Data and method: Qualitative interviews with 42 persons in Malmö, Sweden, aged approximately 20 years (21 women and 21 men) belonging to 3 groups, differing in social characteristics in their use of alcohol and the meaning it had for them. 34 of them were interviewed again in a follow-up study 15-16 years later.

Results and conclusions: At the age of 35, when matters of work, family and raising of children had become of central importance, alcohol no longer had the much more central role in their lives it had had at the age of 20. When intoxication had helped them create a collective illusion of future success at their goals. Alcohol still palyed a role in their lives, however, helping the support their feelings of closeness to their partners, of being good parents and of succeeding in the work. Drinking, usually involving wine, was primarily on weekends in a family setting, the woman typically taking the initiative here. The continental European custom of going out occasionally on weekday evenings to drink beer with job colleagues had become more frequent. Those without a family or a partner differed somewhat in their pattern of drinking. Effects of one´s social environment at the age of 20 on the use of alcohol and the meaning it had for one at the age of 35 were evident.


  • Psychology
  • interviews
  • life course perspective
  • longitudianal study
  • gender
  • culture
  • age
  • meaning of alcohol
  • qualitative methodology
  • Alcohol comsumption


  • ISSN: 1458-6126

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