Young adult men with lower IQ are likelier to drink more, examines a new study.
The study also suggested that although their poor performance on the IQ-test may also be linked to other disadvantages.
Sara Sjolund, a doctoral student at the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, Sweden as well as corresponding author for the study, said that previous results in this area have been inconsistent and in two studies where the CAGE questionnaire which is a method of screening for alcoholism was used, a higher cognitive ability was found to be associated with a higher risk for drinking problems. Conversely, less risk has been found when looking at outcomes such as, for example, International Classification of Diseases diagnoses of alcoholism, alcohol abuse, and dependence.
Sjolund and her colleagues analyzed data collected from 49,321 Swedish males born during 1949 to 1951 and who were conscripted for Swedish military service from 1969 to 1971. IQ results were available from tests performed at conscription, and questionnaires also given at conscription provided data on total alcohol intake (consumed grams of alcohol/week) and pattern of drinking, as well as medical, childhood and adolescent conditions and tobacco use. Adjustments were made for socio-economic position as a child, psychiatric symptoms and emotional stability, and the father's alcohol habits.
Sjolund said that they found that lower results on IQ tests in Swedish adolescent men were associated with a higher consumption of alcohol, measured in both terms of total intake and binge drinking and it may be that a higher IQ results in healthier lifestyle choices.
Daniel Falkstedt, assistant professor in the department of public health sciences at Karolinska Institute, said that by taking into account as little as four measured characteristics of the men, including their backgrounds, the authors seem to be able to explain a large part of the association between IQ and heavy drinking and the poor performance on IQ tests tend to go along with other disadvantages.
The study will be published in online-only issue of Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research.