Researchers from the Karolinska Institutet in Stockholm, Sweden conducted a study of the link between binge drinking and unemployment. More than 13,000 Swedish residents aged 20 to 59 participated in the study, which consisted of two surveys. The first survey was conducted in 2002 and an additional survey was carried out in 2007. One of the key findings from the research was that frequent binge drinking by women was associated with long-term unemployment.


Obviously alcohol abuse can impact a worker’s productivity while on the job, but it can also limit future employment opportunities as well as decrease one’s chances of securing a job if currently unemployed.


Mona C. Backhans, a postdoctoral researcher at Karolinska and one of the study’s co-authors explains, "Problem drinking while employed could impact on your ability to perform work tasks, due to hang-overs, health problems caused by drinking, frequent absences, or actual 'drunk working. While unemployed, problem drinking may have an impact on your search activity. Employers are also likely to not choose people who lack references from a former employer, who have extensive absence records from their previous employment, or frequent job changes/periods of unemployment."


This impact is more apparent for female binge drinkers but according to the research findings, while the association between binge drinking among women and long-term unemployment was stronger than that of men, the association was not considered significant.


“One reason for the stronger effect among women could amount to selection, as frequent binge drinking is so uncommon for women (2 to 3%).” Source: Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research


Results from the study, Binge Drinking – A Predictor for or a Consequence of Unemployment?, will be published in the November 2012 issue of Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research.

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