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Great Recession Saw Less Drinking on the Job, More After Work

  • VOA News

A new study revealed the drinking habits of workers during the Great Recession. (Photo by Flickr user Andy via Creative Commons license)

While it’s widely known that being laid off from a job can lead some people to drink more alcohol, a new study shows that during the so-called Great Recession in the U.S. from 2007 to 2009, even those who kept their jobs drank more.

Writing in the journal Psychology of Addictive Behaviors, researchers from the University at Buffalo Research Institute on Addictions found that, based on two surveys of more than 5,000 people with jobs, drinking while at work dropped off, but drinking during off hours rose.

"Even among the employed, economic downturns can create sources of work related and financial stress that may lead to lower levels of alcohol use during the work day, but higher levels of excessive and ill-timed alcohol use away from work," said study author Michael Frone, a senior research scientist at RIA.

Frone said the drop off in at-work drinking likely was due to people not “putting their employment in jeopardy.”

The researchers also found that middle aged workers tended to drink more than their younger counterparts, who saw no rise in drinking during the economic crisis.

Frone said the increased family and financial responsibilities of middle aged workers could add to stress, making alcohol appealing.

Drinking excessively outside work can still impact work, Frone said.

"Excessive drinking can lead to absenteeism or coming to work hung over, which can affect productivity," Frone said. "Also, increased drinking after work may lead to family problems, which can affect performance at work."