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Addiction. 2007 Sep;102(9):1399-410. Epub 2007 Jul 4.

Prevalence and patterns of alcohol use in the Australian workforce: findings from the 2001 National Drug Strategy Household Survey.

Author information

1
Research Centre for Injury Studies, Flinders University, South Australia, Australia. jesia.berry@flinders.edu.au

Abstract

AIMS:

To describe Australian workers' prevalence and patterns of alcohol use.

DESIGN:

A secondary analysis of the 2001 National Drug Strategy Household Survey.

PARTICIPANTS:

A total of 13 582 workers > or = 14 years old.

MEASUREMENTS:

Alcohol consumption levels associated with National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) guidelines for short- and long-term harm were stratified by occupation and industry.

FINDINGS:

Approximately 8% of the workforce drank at least weekly at short-term risky or high risk levels, 17% drank at least monthly, 18% drank at least yearly and 11% drank at long-term risky or high risk levels. The prevalence of risky or high risk drinking was higher for younger than for older workers. Controlling for socio-demographic factors, the risk of workers frequently drinking at levels associated with short-term harm was lowest in the education industry and significantly higher in the hospitality, agriculture, manufacturing and construction industries. Drinking patterns associated with long-term harm were more prevalent in the agriculture, retail and manufacturing industries, compared to the education industry. Drinking patterns associated with both short- and long-term harm were more prevalent for blue-collar workers than professionals.

CONCLUSIONS:

Risky and high risk drinking occurred at least occasionally in 44% of Australian workers. Workers in the hospitality, agriculture, manufacturing, construction and retail industries, workers in blue-collar occupations and young workers were identified as at-risk subgroups. These data provide evidence that patterns of consumption differ between occupational and industry groups, and highlight the pressing need to develop policies, prevention and intervention strategies to reduce harmful alcohol use in Australia, particularly among young adults.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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