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Scand J Public Health. 2009 Nov;37(8):846-54. doi: 10.1177/1403494809350519. Epub 2009 Oct 14.

Drinking habits and sickness absence: the contribution of working conditions.

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1
Department of Public Health, PO Box 41, Fin-00014 University of Helsinki, Finland. aino.salonsalmi@helsinki.fi

Abstract

AIMS:

The main aim was to examine whether drinking habits including average, binge and problem drinking are associated with self-certified and medically confirmed sickness absence among middle-aged municipal employees. Another aim was to examine whether psychosocial and physical working conditions and work arrangements explain these associations.

METHODS:

The data on drinking habits and working conditions of 5,119 female and 1,390 male middle-aged employees of the City of Helsinki was obtained from postal questionnaires collected in 2000-2002. The data on sickness absence (2000-2005) were derived from the employer's registers. Poisson regression analysis with self-certified (1-3 days) and medically confirmed (over 3 days) sickness absence spells as outcomes was used in performing the analyses.

RESULTS:

Heavy average, binge and problem drinking were all associated with an increase in self-certified sickness absence. Both non-drinkers and heavy drinkers had excess medically confirmed sickness absence compared to moderate drinkers. Problem drinking and among women also binge drinking were associated with medically confirmed sickness absence. Psychosocial working conditions slightly attenuated the association of drinking habits and sickness absence mainly among men. Physical working conditions and work arrangements slightly explained medically confirmed sickness absence among male problem drinkers.

CONCLUSIONS:

All studied drinking habits were associated with both self-certified and medically confirmed sickness absence. Thus, a decrease in unhealthy drinking habits among employees is likely to prevent sickness absence. The effects of working conditions were small but psychosocial working conditions slightly explained the associations between drinking habits and sickness absence mainly among men.

PMID:
19828773
DOI:
10.1177/1403494809350519
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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