job stress and alcohol

Calling alcohol consumption “a major occupational health concern,” researchers who studied Brazilian bank workers uncovered a potential link between job stress and hazardous drinking.

Researchers from the State University of Feira de Santana in Brazil surveyed 1,080 employees of a major bank in Salvador, a city in a northeastern Brazil, between December 2003 and April 2004. They uncovered a potential association between high job strain, hazardous drinking and alcohol-related disorders.

The study authors, Carlos Tadeu Lima, Ph.D., Michael Farrell, M.B., and Martin Prince, M.D., found a prevalence of hazardous drinking of 25.5 percent and a 13.5 percent prevalence of alcohol-related disorders. They explained their analysis “implied that increased risk of hazardous drinking was mainly confined to individuals subjected to both high demands and low control” at work.

“As a result of globalization, the Brazilian financial sector has undergone profound changes, including computerization and increased competition, which led to a reduction in the number of employees from 811,982 in 1989 to 497,108 in 1999,” the study states. “These factors may have increased job strain for many bank employees, who live within a high-consumption culture in Brazil.”

The researchers added: “The work process in Brazilian banks has become similar to the work process in financial institutions of developed countries. These changes are not unique to either the banking sector or Brazil, and our findings could possibly be generalized to other similarly affected occupational groups. We must consider that our sample may also represent white- collar, office-based employees living in a high-consumption culture.”

The authors recommended additional health surveillance efforts and the use of established, low-cost interventions for hazardous drinking.

“The introduction of such efforts should be carefully considered by managers, occupational physicians and policymakers when establishing priority groups for prevention, early identification and treatment of these disorders,” they concluded.

The study, “Job Strain, Hazardous Drinking and Alcohol-Related Disorders Among Bank Workers,” was published in the Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs.

The Link Between Job Stress and Hazardous Drinking
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