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Journal Article


Ragland DR, Greiner BA, Yen IH, Fisher JM. Alcohol Clin. Exp. Res. 2000; 24(7): 1011-1019.


School of Public Health, University of California, Berkeley 94720-7360, USA.


(Copyright © 2000, John Wiley and Sons)






BACKGROUND: If alcohol consumption mitigates psychological and physiological aspects of the response to stressors, then alcohol consumption might be elevated for individuals exposed to high occupational stressors. Frequency of work stressors and reaction to those stressors were studied in relation to several alcohol-related outcomes. METHODS: During the period 1993-1995, 1979 transit operators underwent medical examinations for commercial driver's license renewal. Questionnaire and interview data concerning occupational stress factors and alcohol-related outcomes were available for 1386 (70.2%) of the operators. RESULTS: A positive association was found between the two job stressor-related measures and each of six alcohol-related outcomes. Of these 12 associations, ten were statistically significant. Individuals experiencing high self-reported frequency of job stressors and a higher perceived severity of those job stressors were more likely to drink and more likely to be heavy drinkers. They reported more consequences of alcohol consumption, reported increased consumption since beginning work as transit drivers, and were more likely to report drinking to deal with work stress. They also drank more, but this effect was not significant for either job stress measure. There was virtually no association between either stressor-related measure and alcohol dependency (CAGE). CONCLUSIONS: Together with other published findings, these results suggest increased alcohol-related outcomes in the presence of work stressors. This conclusion has potential implications for worksite health promotion and job design. Because our findings are cross-sectional, further research is needed to clarify the causal nature of the work stressor-alcohol association. Further research also is needed to clarify the role of individual differences and context.


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