New research suggests that people who work long hours can increase risk of adverse health problems. Researchers found that working more than 48 hours per week makes it more likely for people to engage in alcohol consumption with hazardous patterns compared to those who work a standard week. They also have an increased risk of liver diseases, cancer, stroke, coronary heart disease and mental disorders.
The study entitled “Long working hours and alcohol use: systematic review and meta-analysis of published studies and unpublished individual participant data” and published in the British Medical Journal concludes its meta-analysis:
Individuals whose working hours exceed standard recommendations are more likely to increase their alcohol use to levels that pose a health risk.
The workplace is an important setting for the prevention of alcohol problems, because more than half of the adult population are employed.
For the study, researchers collected and analyzed data from nearly 333,700 people in 14 countries. They found that longer working hours increased the likelihood of higher alcohol use by 11%. A prospective analysis found a similar increase in risk of 12% for onset of risky alcohol use in more than 100,600 people from nine countries. Individual participant data from 18 prospective studies showed that those who worked 49 to 54 hours and 55 hours per week or more were found to have an increased risk of 13% and 12% respectively of risky alcohol consumption compared with those who worked 35 to 40 hours per week.
Long working hours and alcohol use: systematic review and meta-analysis of published studies and unpublished individual participant data
BMJ 2015; 350 doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/bmj.g7772 (Published 13 January 2015)
Cite this as: BMJ 2015;350:g7772