Alcoholism and occupations: a review and analysis of 104 occupations

Alcohol Clin Exp Res. 1992 Aug;16(4):734-46. doi: 10.1111/j.1530-0277.1992.tb00670.x.


A review of the many attempts to establish an association between occupations and alcoholism reveals that most do not deal with data about clinically defined alcoholism but instead use data about cirrhosis mortality, self-reported alcohol problems, and frequent and heavy drinking. The present study establishes an association between occupations and diagnoses of Alcohol Dependence Disorder and Alcohol Abuse Disorder, using data from a large population-based household interview study. Statistical adjustment using logistic methods reveals that apparent associations between occupations and alcohol-related disorders previously reported in the literature are due to characteristics of those employed in various occupations. The prevalence of alcohol dependence and abuse in two high risk industries, construction and transportation, is confirmed. More than one in four construction laborers and one in five skilled construction trades workers received a DIS/DSM-III diagnosis related to alcohol abuse. In the transportation industry one in six heavy truck drivers and material movers received an alcohol diagnosis. Analyses of the data from individuals currently employed and not employed in their occupation reveals reduction in risk for those who leave some occupations and increased risk for those who leave other occupations. Evidence is presented that employment in some occupations may be protective for Alcohol Dependence. The findings support the view that occupation may be associated with Alcohol Dependence and Alcohol Abuse independent of demographic variations. Previously proposed explanatory models for associations between occupations and alcohol problems are called into question because they do not take into account the demographic characteristics and employment status of workers.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Alcoholism / epidemiology*
  • Alcoholism / rehabilitation
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Occupational Diseases / epidemiology*
  • Occupational Diseases / rehabilitation
  • Occupations / statistics & numerical data*
  • Risk Factors
  • United States / epidemiology