Devil in disguise: Does drinking lead to a disability pension?

Petri Böckerman*, Ari Hyytinen, Terhi Maczulskij

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

12 Citations (Scopus)


Objectives: To examine whether alcohol consumption in adulthood is related to the incidence of receiving a disability pension later in life.

Methods: Twin data for Finnish men andwomen born before 1958were matched to register-based individual information on disability pensions. Twin differences were used to eliminate both shared environmental and genetic factors. The quantity of alcohol consumption was measured as the weekly average consumption using self-reported data from three surveys (1975, 1981 and 1990). The disability pension data were evaluated from 1990–2004.

Results: The models that account for shared environmental and genetic factors reveal that heavy drinkers are significantly more likely to receive a disability pension than moderate drinkers or constant abstainers. Heavy drinking that leads to passing out is also positively related to receiving a disability pension. The results were robust to the use of potential confounders that twins do not share, such as education years, the number of chronic diseases, physical activity at work and leisure, and stressful life events.

Conclusion: Drinking profiles in early adulthood are an important predictor of receiving a disability pension later in life.

Original languageEnglish
Peer-reviewed scientific journalPreventive Medicine
Issue numberMay
Pages (from-to)130-135
Number of pages6
Publication statusPublished - 08.03.2016
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article - refereed


  • 511 Economics
  • Alcohol consumption
  • Disability pension
  • Co-twin control
  • Twins


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