Understanding why inequalities in alcohol-related mortality trends by sex and country exist, is essential for developing health policies. Birth cohort effects, indicative of differences by generation in drinking, have rarely been studied. This study estimated the relative contributions of birth cohorts to liver cirrhosis mortality trends and compared sex- and country-specific cohort patterns across eight European countries.Design
Time-series analysis of population-level mortality data.Setting
Austria, Finland, Hungary, Italy, the Netherlands, Poland, Spain and Sweden; 1950-2011.Participants
National populations aged 15-94.Measurements
We modelled country- and sex-specific liver cirrhosis mortality (from national vital registers) adjusting for age, period and birth cohort.Findings
Birth cohorts (adjusted for age and period) made statistically significant contributions to liver cirrhosis mortality in all countries and for both sexes (p-values < 0.001), and more so among women (average contribution to deviance reduction of 38.8%) than among men (17.4%). The observed cohort patterns were statistically different between all but two country pairs (p-values < 0.001). Sex differences existed overall (p-value < 0.001), but not in the majority of countries (p-values > 0.999). Visual inspection of birth cohort patterns reveals birth cohorts at higher risk of liver cirrhosis mortality.Conclusions
The inclusion of the birth cohort dimension improves the understanding of alcohol-attributable mortality trends in Europe. Birth cohorts at higher risk of liver cirrhosis mortality were born around 1935-1949 in Sweden and Finland, around 1950 in Austria and the Netherlands, and around 1960 or later in Hungary, Italy, Poland and Spain.