Page last updated: October 24, 2014
The association between long working hours and alcohol use

A study published in the British Medical Journal analysed behaviour of more than 400,000 people and found longer working hours can lead to ‘risky’ drinking, increasing the likelihood of higher alcohol intake by 11%. The analysis included 61 studies representing 333,693 participants from 14 countries such as Belgium, Britain, Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Japan, New Zealand, Spain, Sweden, Taiwan and the United States.

The results showed that individuals who worked 49-54 hours a week ran a 13% higher likelihood of drinking at risky levels compared to counterparts who worked a 35-40-hour working week. Those working 55 hours or more were 12% more at risk. “Risky” alcohol use was defined as more than 14 units of 8g per week for a woman and more than 21 for a man. The authors conclude that Individuals whose working hours exceed standard recommendations are more likely to increase their alcohol use to levels that pose a health risk.

Source: Long working hours and alcohol use: systematic review and meta-analysis of published studies and unpublished individual participant data. BMJ 2015; 350 doi: (Published 13 January 2015).

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