Alcohol abuse linked to long work hours

People who work long irregular hours are more likely to consume more than two standard alcoholic drinks per day, a new study from the University of Otago has found.

The research, from the University of Otago Christchurch campus in association with the University of Queensland, showed a link between long work hours and harmful alcohol use.

Published in the International Journal of Nursing Studies, the study comprised the survey of 4419 nurses and midwives, including 867 nurses from New Zealand, using a large cohort from a longitudinal population-based study of nurses in Australia and New Zealand and midwives in Australia.

It showed nearly 14% engaged in harmful drinking of more than two standard drinks per day, and there were significant associations between working long and irregular hours and alcohol abuse.

The study found nurses or midwives working between 40 and 49 hours per week or more than 50 hours were likely to engage in harmful daily drinking.

The longer people worked, the more they were likely to drink.

"Other studies have found that 6 to 10% of nurses abuse alcohol at any one time and that 10 to 15% will abuse it at some time during their careers, so this result regarding the impact of long working hours and alcohol is significant as it is substantially higher," lead researcher Professor Philip Schluter said.

The study also found the older the nurse or midwife, the more likely they were to engage in harmful daily drinking. Those aged over 60 had the highest risk.


Add a Comment





Our journalists are your neighbours

We are the South's eyes and ears in crucial council meetings, at court hearings, on the sidelines of sporting events and on the frontline of breaking news.

As our region faces uncharted waters in the wake of a global pandemic, Otago Daily Times continues to bring you local stories that matter.

We employ local journalists and photographers to tell your stories, as other outlets cut local coverage in favour of stories told out of Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch.

You can help us continue to bring you local news you can trust by becoming a supporter.

Become a Supporter