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Open Access Research article

Alcohol use and misuse: What are the contributions of occupation and work organization conditions?

Alain Marchand

Author Affiliations

School of Industrial Relations, University of Montreal, Montreal, Canada

Health and Prevention Social Research Group (GRASP), University of Montreal, Montreal, Canada

BMC Public Health 2008, 8:333  doi:10.1186/1471-2458-8-333

Published: 24 September 2008

Abstract

Background

This research examines the specific contribution of occupation and work organization conditions to alcohol use and misuse. It is based on a social-action model that takes into account agent personality, structures of daily life, and macro social structures.

Methods

Data come from a representative sample of 10,155 workers in Quebec, Canada. Multinomial regression models corrected for sample design effect have been used to predict low-risk and high-risk drinking compared to non-drinkers. The contribution of occupation and work organization conditions (skill used, decision authority, physical and psychological demands, hours worked, irregular work schedule, harassment, unionization, job insecurity, performance pay, prestige) have been adjusted for family situation, social network outside the workplace, and individual characteristics.

Results

Compared to non-qualified blue-collars, both low-risk and high-risk drinking are associated with qualified blue-collars, semi-qualified white-collars, and middle managers; high-risk drinking is associated with upper managers. For constraints-resources related to work organization conditions, only workplace harassment is an important determinant of both low-risk and high-risk drinking, but it is modestly moderated by occupation. Family situation, social support outside work, and personal characteristics of individuals are also associated with alcohol use and misuse. Non-work factors mediated/suppressed the role of occupation and work organization conditions.

Conclusion

Occupation and workplace harassment are important factors associated with alcohol use and misuse. The results support the theoretical model conceptualizing alcohol use and misuse as being the product of stress caused by constraints and resources brought to bear simultaneously by agent personality, structures of daily life, and macro social structures. Occupational alcohol researchers must expand their theoretical perspectives to avoid erroneous conclusions about the specific role of the workplace.