Drinking Habits and Financial Stress

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Drinking Habits and Financial Stress

When people are under financial stress, they sometimes turn to alcohol for comfort. This is heightened by loss of employment or during times of economic uncertainty, like the Great Recession of 2007-09. Even those who remained employed throughout this time period had stress that affected their alcohol use. A study by the University at Buffalo Research Institute on Addictions studied this more closely and published the results in the journal Psychology of Addictive Behaviors.

The researchers analyzed the results of two national United States surveys that followed over 5,000 employees both before and during the Great Recession. They found that compared to before the recession, employees were drinking less during the workday but  drinking more after hours and on the weekends. They drank less during the day in order to keep their jobs safe, and turned to alcohol after to reduce stress from the economic uncertainty. The studies also showed that more middle-aged workers were drinking but the amount of alcohol consumed by younger workers remained the same. This may be because the recession did not affect these two age groups in the same way.

Employers should be aware of the change in their employees’ drinking habits in order to have a more profitable business and relaxed environment. If an employee begins to drink excessively, it can cause them to show up late and lose enthusiasm. It is helpful and effective if employers offer substance abuse resources for their employees if necessary.