Alcohol consumption patterns of shiftworkers compared with dayworkers

Jillian Dorrian, Natalie J. Skinner

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

27 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The detrimental effects of excessive alcohol consumption are well documented. There is some evidence that shiftworkers consume more alcohol than dayworkers as a sleep aid to compensate for sleep difficulties associated with work schedules. This study investigated drinking patterns between shiftworkers and dayworkers using the 2006 and 2007 waves from the Household Income and Labour Dynamics Survey. A subset of workers who were not in full-time study and had a single job were selected; participants who did not drink alcohol (n2090) were excluded. Using the 2001 Australian Government alcohol guidelines, alcohol consumption for risk of short-term harm (7 standard drinks for men, 5 for women) was investigated. The number of workers who drank alcohol "nearly every day" or "every day" was also examined. Some 13 of shiftworkers and 10 of those on standard schedules reported consuming alcohol at levels risky for short-term harm. Having a child less than 17 yrs (odds ratio [OR].39, 95 confidence interval [CI].22.69), higher job demands (OR.71, 95 CI.58.86), being female (OR.45, 95 CI. 26.79), and being older (OR.89, 95 CI.87.92) significantly reduced, whereas being a shiftworker (OR2.10, 95 CI1.084.12) significantly increased, the odds of drinking alcohol in short-term risky levels. Nearly 10 of shiftworkers and 8 of those on standard schedules reported consuming alcohol in short-term risky levels at least weekly. Having a child less than 17 yrs (OR.40, 95 CI.22.74), higher job demands (OR.69, 95 CI.56.86), being female (OR.28, 95 CI.15.53), and being older (OR.92, 95 CI.89.94) were associated with a significant reduction in the odds of consuming alcohol at risky levels at least weekly. Being a shiftworker was not associated with a significant increase in the odds of consuming alcohol at such risky levels at least weekly, but a trend was evident (OR1.47, 95 CI.733.00). Some 13.5 of shiftworkers and 21 of those on standard schedules reported consuming alcohol in any amount "near daily" or "daily." Working more hours than preferred (OR1.80, 95 CI1.122.89) and being older (OR1.10, 95 CI1.071.13) were associated with a significant increase, and being female (OR.18, 95 CI.10.33), and being a shiftworker (OR.20, 95 CI.09.45) were associated with a significant decrease in the odds of consuming alcohol "daily" or "near daily." Overall, the results suggest that shiftworkers may be more likely to consume alcohol at levels considered to be risky for health in the short term. In contrast, they appear less likely to drink alcohol daily. This pattern is suggestive of "binge drinking" behavior. (Author correspondence: jill.dorrian@unisa.edu.au)

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)610-618
Number of pages9
JournalChronobiology International
Volume29
Issue number5
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2012
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Alcohol consumption
  • Health
  • Job Stress
  • Shiftwork
  • Work hours
  • Worker sex and age

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