Heavier drinking is more often associated with unemployment status, whether someone’s alcohol consumption caused them to lose their job, the individual is drinking more as a faulty coping mechanism as the result of losing their job or some other reason. Now there is a bit more information available regarding alcohol and employment.
Researchers at the University at Buffalo Research Institute on Addictions showed that work stress can be directly related to increased alcohol intake. This is an important study because it sheds additional light on potential problems that adults can develop from consuming too much alcohol. When family members and friends are aware that a person may be falling into these bad habits, they have a better chance of intervening.
In addition to potential family intervention, understanding the results of this study can also be beneficial for employers. Work stressors can impact an employee’s personal life and their behavior at work as well. Trying to relieve work-related stress through drinking can become habitual, and family and work obligations and responsibilities begin to suffer. The study shows that increased alcohol consumption was not only present during normal work environments but even worse alcohol habits were reported during the economic downturn.
“Even among the employed, economic downturns can create sources of work-related and financial stress that may lead to lower levels of alcohol use during the workday, but higher levels of excessive and ill-timed alcohol use away from work,” explained Michael Frone, PhD, senior research scientist at the University at Buffalo Research Institute on Addictions.
Certain age groups seem to be affected more than others when it comes to drinking to relieve work-related stress. The study shows that middle-aged employees are likely to drink more on the weekends, especially when the economy is not doing well, than younger employees. Researchers speculate that this is due to the increased amount of responsibility that middle-aged employees have.
While the immediate effects of stress and alcohol seem to directly impact the individuals and their health, job performance can suffer significantly as well. People who develop alcohol use disorders are more likely to have accidents or make mistakes at work, which can passes on a huge cost to employers in lost productivity alone.