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Monday, October 20, 2008

APHA Presentation - Relationships between increased hours worked and binge drinking in California's workforce

APHA Annual Meeting
Tuesday, October 28, 2008
Time: 12:30 p.m. Abstract #174231
Current Issues in Alcohol: Translating the Research Poster Board 2

Andrew J. Barnes, MPH , Department of Health Services, University of California Los Angeles, Los Angeles, CA
E. Richard Brown, PhD , UCLA Center for Health Policy Research, University of California, Los Angeles, Los Angeles, CA

This study explores a framework in which increased labor, and consequently increased income, may negatively impact health outcomes; particularly outcomes, like binge drinking, hypothesized to react to work-stress induced by working more.

Drawing on theoretical frameworks from the work-stress and health economics literature, two-part models were created to simulate the effect on probability binge drinking and number of drinks per month when California workers increase the number of hours worked.

After controlling for income, employment sector, demographics, education, and psychological distress, two part models revealed an increase in 4% (95% CI, 1%-7%) in the probability of binge drinking when labor increased from 20 to 40 hours per week for all workers.

Results from age stratified analyses suggest young workers appeared to drive the observed increase in binge drinking in the entire study population. Specifically, workers ages 18-29 had an 18% increase in the probability of binge drinking (95% CI, 8%-32%) when work hours increased from 20 to 40 hours per week.

The findings from this study suggest that increased labor in young workers, while adding to the accumulation of wealth and income and thus, many argue, better overall health, may in fact have negative associations with specific health behaviors, like binge drinking, known to have serious long-run health consequences and costs.

Workplace trainings on job stress management, particularly for young workers entering the labor force, may help build protective behaviors to ameliorate negative health consequences associated with increased labor and stress.