Economic downturns can lead to greater rates of drinking even among people who hold onto their jobs, a new study suggests. Previous research has shown people who lose their jobs during a recession are more likely to drink.
Researchers at the University of Buffalo Research Institute on Addictions studied the rate of alcohol use among people who remained employed during the recession of 2007-2009.
Study author Michael Frone, PhD compared the results of two phone surveys. One survey of 2,501 employees was conducted in 2002 and 2003, before the recession. The other survey included 2,581 employees, who were questioned during and after the recession, between 2008 and 2011.
He found alcohol use and excessive drinking outside of work increased during the recession. Drinking at work was reduced after the recession, compared with before the economic downturn, Medical News Today reports.
The findings are published in the journal Psychology of Addictive Behaviors.
“Despite the increased stress at work that came with the recession, employees decreased their alcohol use during the workday to avoid putting their employment in jeopardy,” Frone said in a news release. “But perhaps to reduce stress, they increased both excessive alcohol use and drinking right after work.”
He found drinking among middle-aged workers increased during the recession. Younger employees did not drink more during the downturn. Frone said middle-aged employees are likely to have greater family and financial responsibilities, which can increase the stress of job insecurity. Middle-aged workers may have greater work demands, and worry about financial losses and retirement income.