Original article

Scand J Work Environ Health 1984;10(6):511-515    pdf


Alcoholism and occupation.

by Olkinuora M

Occupational roles are a dominant force in many aspects of social life. Occupation signifies a complex of social and psychological factors that reflect intelligence, education, personality, ambition, social status, and life-style. The consumption of alcohol and alcoholism have many correlations with occupational roles. Mortality from cirrhosis of the liver reflects the per capita consumption of alcohol. In certain occupations such mortality rates are clearly above average. The highest risk is found in occupations associated with the serving of food and beverages. A Finnish study has shown that the alcohol-related use of health services among males is the highest among unskilled workers, painters, seamen, and construction workers and the lowest among executives and farmers. Many population studies have shown that blue-collar workers and laborers have the highest level of drinking. This pattern is not necessarily true among females. The risk factors associated with occupation include the availability of alcohol at work, social pressure to drink on the job, separation from normal social relationships, and freedom from supervision. The opportunity to obtain alcoholic beverages relatively inexpensively, when combined with social pressure by peers to drink heavily, is an especially powerful explanation for high rates of alcoholism within an occupation.