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Scand J Public Health. 2004;32(1):47-52.

Correlates of probable alcohol abuse among women working in nursing homes.

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Administration for Occupational Safety and Health, Reykjavík, Iceland.



The purpose of this nationwide study was to assess the prevalence of probable alcohol abuse (PAA) among women working in geriatric care, and to study its demographics, medical and work-related correlates.


The employees of geriatric nursing homes and geriatric hospital wards in Iceland with 10 patients or more were invited to participate in this cross-sectional study. The response rate was 80% (n=1515), with 96% being women (n=1432). Men were consequently omitted from the study. Questions were included on demographics, psychosocial factors, workplace environment, health behavior, and medical history. PAA was defined as (a) having been given such a diagnosis by a physician, (b) having missed work because of drinking, or (c) if alcohol use was considered a problem by the employee herself, her family, friends, or the employer.


A total of 4.8% of the employees fulfilled the criteria for PAA. These women were younger (41 vs. 45 years of age), more often single (25% vs. 15%) or divorced (13% vs. 9%), and less satisfied with work than the other women. Odds ratios for asthma, fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue, pain syndromes, mental disorders, and work-related accidents were elevated. Despite this, no differences were found concerning amount of sick leave. Their psychosocial work environment was worse but the physical work environment was the same.


Women with probable alcohol abuse working in nursing homes have significant medical problems and psychosocial morbidity that is not reflected in more sick leave.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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