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Research

Long working hours and alcohol use: systematic review and meta-analysis of published studies and unpublished individual participant data

BMJ 2015; 350 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.g7772 (Published 13 January 2015) Cite this as: BMJ 2015;350:g7772

Rapid Response:

We all know that alcohol misuse causes health risk behaviors such as the finding in Vietnam that alcohol is a contributing factor to risky sexual activity and to risky driving behavior (Parker, L 2010). The result of pooled estimates of this meta-analysis show that the prevalence of alcohol use in women with long working hours is higher than that in men (OR: 1.36 vs. 1.11), and people with long working hours usually have a higher education level. It seems like education is a risk factor, and one research study in Vietnamese women reported that those with a higher education had significantly higher rates of alcohol consumption-related problems than those with lower education (Giang, Allebeck, Spak, Van Minh, & Dzung, 2008). The authors also reported that separated, divorced, and widowed women are at higher risk of alcohol consumption than married ones. This finding suggests that the further monitoring of alcohol use and problems among women is important to follow-up changes in consumption pattern (Giang et al., 2008).

Future research should focus on the association between working hour and the frequency and amount of alcohol use to classify the positive versus negative drinking behavior among employees because alcohol use is not always bad. An acceptable amount of alcohol consumption may have a positive effect on health such as in reducing the risk of heart attacks, ischemic strokes and death from all cardiovascular causes. In addition, in certain events alcohol use (with some Champagne and wine) could cheer up and motivate employees after working hard for a long time and help in improving efficiency at work.

This study gives evidence for policy makers and employers to create appropriate working regulations and environment to reduce health risks by reducing alcohol misuse among employees (especially women) and thus improve production efficiency.

References
Parker, L 2010, 'Alcohol consumption behaviours and attitudes in Vietnam: An exploratory analysis', in Rebekah Russell-Bennett; Sharyn Rundle-Thiele (ed.) Proceedings of the International Non-Profit and Social Marketing Conference (INSM), Brisbane, Australia, 15 - 16 July 2010, pp. 143-147.
Giang, K. B., Allebeck, P., Spak, F., Van Minh, H., & Dzung, T. V. (2008). Alcohol Use and Alcohol Consumption–Related Problems in Rural Vietnam: An Epidemiological Survey Using AUDIT. Substance Use & Misuse, 43(3-4), 481-495. doi: doi:10.1080/10826080701208111

Competing interests: No competing interests

21 January 2015
Van Tuyen Duong
Public Health Researcher
Taipei Medical University
No 250, Wuxing Street, Taipei City, Taiwan, 110