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Recession resulted in altered drinking patterns, study finds

January 6, 2016
by Gary A. Enos, Editor
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A study funded by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) indicates that economic downturns affect individuals' drinking patterns, even for those who are not most severely affected by a recession.

The University at Buffalo Research Institute on Addictions study found that during the 2007-2009 recession, alcohol use levels among individuals who remained employed decreased during the workday but increased after work. “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,” said study author Michael Frone, PhD, senior research scientist at the institute. “But perhaps to reduce stress, they increased both excessive alcohol use and drinking right after work.”

Also, drinking trended upward in the middle-aged population during the recession, as compared with younger adults. Frone believes this resulted from more intensive financial and family responsibilities during middle age, along with dynamics such as feelings of insecurity about retirement income.

The study, published online in Psychology of Addictive Behaviors, suggests that employers should initiate workplace interventions that address stress during periods of economic downturn.

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