Certain Occupations Associated With Higher Rates of Heavy Drinking

Dawn O'Shea

February 24, 2021

Certain occupations may be associated with a higher likelihood of heavy drinking in people aged 40-69 years, according to research published in  BMC Public Health.

The study by researchers at the University of Liverpool analysed data on 100,817 adults from across the UK who were 55 years old on average and recruited to the UK Biobank between 2006 and 2010. Participants reported their weekly or monthly alcohol intake and occupation. Heavy drinkers were defined as women consuming more than 35 UK units of alcohol per week and men consuming more than 50 units per week.

They found that associations between occupation and heavy drinking differed in men and women. For men, the jobs that were most likely to be associated with heavy drinking were skilled trade occupations, whereas jobs classified as managers and senior officials were most likely to be associated with heavy drinking for women.

The occupations associated with the lowest rates of heavy drinking for men were clergy, medical practitioners and town planners, compared with school secretaries, biological scientists, biochemists and physiotherapists for women.

Co-author, Andrew Thompson from the University of Liverpool, said: “The observed differences for men and women in associations between occupations and heavy drinking could indicate how work environments, along with gender and other complex factors, can influence relationships with alcohol. Workplace-based interventions aiming to address alcohol consumption in occupations where heavy drinking is prevalent could benefit both individuals and the wider economy by improving employee wellbeing and by indirectly increasing productivity.”

Thompson A, Pirmohamed M. Associations between occupation and heavy alcohol consumption in UK adults aged 40–69 years: a cross-sectional study using the UK Biobank. BMC Public Health. 2021 Feb 24 [Epub ahead of print]. doi: 10.1186/s12889-021-10208-x. Full text

This article originally appeared on Univadis, part of the Medscape Professional Network.

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