alcohol abuse

Long Work Week Increases Risk of Alcohol Abuse by 12%

Individuals who exceed recommended working hours were at an increased risk for elevating their alcohol use to health-compromising levels, according to a recent study.

“Our systematic review and meta-analysis provides the first quantitative summary estimate of the association between long working hours and alcohol use,” said the authors of the study.

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For the study, researchers used a cross sectional analysis based on 61 study findings that included 333,693 participants from 14 different countries. Further, the prospective analysis conducted was based on 100,602 individuals (in 9 different countries) from 20 studies. 

The investigators identified risky alcohol use by the consumption of more than 21 drinks for men and 14 drinks for women each week.

Researchers found that those with longer working hours had a 1.11-fold greater likelihood of consuming higher levels of alcohol than those who worked normal hours.

Further, after researchers examined individual participant information from 18 prospective studies, they discovered a 13% increased risk of risky alcohol use for those who worked between 49 and 54 hours each week.

For individuals who worked 55 hours a week or more, researchers noted a 12% increased risk of risky alcohol use.

According to researchers, age, sex, socioeconomic status, and region did not change results after they were factored in.

The complete study is published in the January issue of the British Medical Journal.

-Michelle Canales

Virtanen M, Jokela M, Nyberg ST, et al. Long working hours and alcohol use: systematic review and meta-analysis of published studies and unpublished individual participant data. BMJ. 2015 January [epub ahead of print] doi: