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Gulliver SB, Zimering RT, Dobani F, Pennington ML, Morissette SB, Kamholz BW, Knight JA, Keane TM, Kimbrel NA, Carpenter TP, Meyer EC. Occup. Med. 2020; ePub(ePub): ePub.


Department of Psychology and Neuroscience, Baylor University, Waco, TX, USA.


(Copyright © 2020, Oxford University Press)






BACKGROUND: Limited research suggests that female firefighters report problem drinking at higher rates than the general population. AIMS: To identify longitudinal drinking patterns in female firefighters, make comparisons to male firefighters and examine problem drinking in relation to post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and depression.

METHODS: Study participants included 33 female and 289 male firefighter recruits, who were assessed over their first 3 years of fire service.

RESULTS: Female firefighters consumed increasing numbers of drinks per week, with a median of 0.90 drinks per week at baseline, and 1.27 drinks in year 3. Female firefighters reported binge drinking at high rates, with nearly half binging at least once per year across all time points (44-74%). The percentage that reported binge drinking three or more times per month doubled over the course of the study (from 9% to 18%). Overall, males reported higher rates of binge drinking and a greater number of drinks per week; however, binge drinking rates among females increased over time and became comparable to rates of binge drinking among males. A greater percentage of female than male firefighters met the criteria for problem drinking by year 1. Problem drinking was associated with screening positive for PTSD at year 1 and depression at year 2, but not with occupational injury.

CONCLUSIONS: Over time, female firefighters reported increasing amounts of drinking, more frequent binge drinking and more negative consequences from drinking. These findings along with existing literature indicate female firefighters change their drinking in the direction of their male counterparts.

© The Author(s) 2020. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the Society of Occupational Medicine. All rights reserved. For Permissions, please email:

Language: en


Alcohol drinking behaviour; PTSD; depression; female firefighters; occupational injury


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