Why is work intensity associated with heavy alcohol use among adolescents?

J Adolesc Health. 2004 Jan;34(1):79-87. doi: 10.1016/s1054-139x(03)00206-4.


Purpose: To examine and explain the relationship between work intensity (number of hours worked per week) and heavy alcohol use among adolescents.

Methods: Analyses were conducted with two waves of in-home interview data provided by a representative sample of adolescents who participated in the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health. Multinomial logistic regression analyses were conducted to determine whether a higher level of work intensity at Wave 1 predicted a higher level of past-year heavy drinking approximately 1 year later at Wave 2, and the degree to which the relationship between work intensity and heavy drinking persisted after adjusting for demographic characteristics, alcohol use before Wave 1, and psychosocial risk and protective factors in family, school, and peer-individual domains.

Results: Higher levels of work intensity at Wave 1 (11-20 or more than 20 hours/week) were predictive of heavy drinking at Wave 2. However, these effects were substantially attenuated after adjusting for demographic characteristics and prior alcohol use. Risk and protective factors such as school commitment, friends' drinking, and delinquency also partially explained the effects of work intensity and background variables on heavy drinking, suggesting that these factors may act as confounders and/or mediators.

Conclusions: This study suggests that working more than 10 h/week increases the likelihood of heavy alcohol use among adolescents, and that the effect of work intensity is largely, but not completely attributable to demographic characteristics (e.g., age, race/ethnicity, personal income), prior alcohol use, and family, school, and peer-individual factors.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adolescent Behavior / psychology*
  • Adult
  • Alcohol Drinking / epidemiology*
  • Alcohol Drinking / psychology
  • Child
  • Employment / psychology
  • Employment / statistics & numerical data*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Interviews as Topic
  • Logistic Models
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Male
  • Parent-Child Relations
  • Peer Group
  • Prospective Studies
  • Risk Factors
  • Socioeconomic Factors
  • United States / epidemiology
  • Workload / psychology
  • Workload / statistics & numerical data