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Occup Med (Lond). 2009 Aug;59(5):323-6. doi: 10.1093/occmed/kqp060. Epub 2009 May 21.

Alcohol consumption among veterinary surgeons in the UK.

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Mental Health Group, Division of Clinical Neurosciences, School of Medicine, University of Southampton, RSH Hospital, Brintons Terrace, Southampton SO14 0YG, UK.



Alcohol consumption can have both medical and occupational implications and may affect fitness to practise among veterinary surgeons (vets).


To investigate alcohol consumption and the prevalence and associations of 'at-risk' drinking among vets in the UK.


Alcohol consumption was measured using the Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Test alcohol consumption questions (AUDIT-C) embedded in a questionnaire which included measures of mental health and psychosocial working conditions, administered to a representative sample of 1796 vets. Scores of >or=4 for women and >or=5 for men were used as an indicator of 'at-risk' drinking.


The response rate was 56%. Five per cent of respondents were non-drinkers, 32% low-risk drinkers and 63% at-risk drinkers. The estimated odds of at-risk drinking was not significantly different for men and women. A 1-year increase in age was associated with a 2% reduction in the odds of at-risk drinking (OR 0.98, 95% CI: 0.97-0.99, P < 0.01). There was no significant difference across hours worked or on call in a typical week. Lower psychological demands at work were associated with reduced odds of at-risk drinking (OR 0.75, 95% CI: 0.63-0.90, P < 0.01).


It is estimated that vets drink more frequently than the general population, but consume less on a typical drinking day and have a prevalence of daily and weekly binge drinking that is similar to the general population. The level of alcohol consumption does not appear to be a negative influence on mental health within the profession as a whole.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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