Binge Drinking & Unemployment

Heavy drinking is more likely a consequence rather than a cause of unemployment

(RxWiki News) Which comes first: binge drinking or unemployment? Is binge drinking behavior different for women than it is for men? Read on for answers.

A recent study asked 13,031 employed men and women about their drinking in 2002 and then again five years later.

Study results found that binge drinking was most likely to occur in women after long-term unemployment.

"Always use moderation when drinking alcohol."

Mona C. Backhans, PhD, postdoctoral researcher in the Department of Public Health Sciences at the Karolinska Institutet in Stockholm, Sweden, led an investigation into how binge drinking could relate to unemployment.

For the study, 13,031 employed or on-leave residents of Stockholm, Sweden, aged 20-59 were surveyed in 2002 and then again in 2007.

The surveys asked people about their drinking behaviors and their employment history.

Frequent binge drinking was considered 12.5 ounces of liquor or more in one sitting at least once a week.

Later, in 2007, researchers redefined frequent binge drinking as 8 ounces of liquor in one sitting at least once a week.

They did not scale alcohol amounts based on gender. But, male and female body size and tolerance for alcohol are usually different.

Results of the study found that women’s frequent binge drinking was linked to long-term unemployment lasting six months or more. There were 413 long-term unemployed women, 149 of which participated in binge drinking during their unemployment.

Men did not show a tendency to binge drink during unemployment unless they participated in binge drinking during employment too. 

A total of 1,525, 10 percent of men and 12 percent of women, from the original group became unemployed one day or more between 2003-2006. 

Dr. Backhans said, “Problem drinking while employed could impact your ability to perform work tasks, due to hangovers, health problems caused by drinking, frequent absences, or actual ‘drunk working’.”

Dr. Backhans pointed out that binge drinking can get in the way of a person's ability to search for and secure a job.

The researchers found that there were links between binge drinking and having an impulsive personality, being younger, having less education and a family history of alcohol abuse. 

This study was published in Early View in August in Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research.

Reviewed by: 
Review Date: 
August 18, 2012