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 17 January 2018

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News

Workplace drinking culture influences alcohol intake elsewhere

Drinking culture is crucial for changing drinking patterns and preventing alcohol problems, suggests research published ahead of print in Occupational and Environmental Medicine.

News image

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Dr Tonatiuh Barrientos Gutierrez and colleagues from Canada conducted a detailed analysis of workplace attitudes towards drinking and drinking behaviors.

The research team evaluated over 5,000 employees in 16 different organizations, representing a range of different sectors.

The employees were quizzed about how often they drank alcohol, and when and where they did so.

The team also asked the employees to reveal their attitudes to social drinking.

Employees were asked whether they thought alcohol boosted workplace morale.

The researchers assessed whether employees thought alcohol was good for business, alleviated boredom, improved their health, was harmful, or set a bad example.

The team found that employees' responses were tied in with those of their supervisors and managers.

Employees' responses were tied in with those of their managers
Occupational and Environmental Medicine

Supervisors and mangers were also quizzed about the drinking culture in their respective divisions.

The team noticed overall, women employees who often attended religious services, and those who cohabited were less likely to drink.

Younger workers and smokers were more likely to do so.

The team found around 1 in 5 workers, or 19%, were classified as a heavy drinker outside of work.

Definition of a heavy drinker constituted the consumption of 4 or more drinks in 1 day in men and more than 3 in women.

The classification of frequent drinkers included consumption of some alcohol on 5 or more days of the week.

A further 8% were classified as frequent drinkers outside of work, and 11% were classified as drinking at work.

The researchers observed that rates of heavy, frequent, and workplace drinking were lower in organisations that discouraged social drinking than in those tolerating it.

Workers in organisations that most discouraged social drinking were 45% less likely to be heavy drinkers than those in workplaces with relaxed drinking attitudes.

The team noted that these workers were also 54% less likely to be frequent drinkers, and 69% less likely to drink during the working day.

Dr Gutierrez' team concluded, "The workplace drinking culture is crucial for changing drinking patterns and preventing alcohol problems."

"A restrictive drinking culture at work curbs an individual's overall alcohol intake, including outside of work."

"It should be included in public health initiatives."

Occup Environ Med 2007; doi: 10.1136/oem.2006.031765, Embargoed until 00:01 GMT on 24/05/2007
24 May 2007

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