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The Daily

Study: Long Hours Correlated with Heavy Drinking

Chris Gaetano
Published Date:
Aug 10, 2015
DrunkAndSadWhile there's no problem with capping off a late night at the office with some beers at the local bar (because god alone knows, when you've been neck deep in 1099s for 15 straight hours you've probably earned it), a new study from the British Medical Journal has found that those who regularly work long hours are more likely to develop drinking habits that can become serious threats to their health, safety, and continued employment. To find this out, the researchers conducted a meta-analysis of 61 other studies drawing from over 333,000 participants in over 14 countries. What they found was that, "compared with the standard (35-40) weekly working hours, working 49-54 hours was associated with an odds ratio of 1.13 and working ≥55 hours a week was associated with an odds ratio of 1.12 for new onset risky alcohol use," which is defined as drinking to the point where "there might be an increased risk of adverse health consequences, such as liver diseases, cancer, coronary heart disease, stroke, mental disorders, and injuries, as well as considerable social costs because of family disruption, violence, traffic incidents, healthcare costs, reduced work productivity, and permanent exclusion from the labour market." 

(Please note that an odds ratio is not the same as a regular percentage ratio: when interpreting an odds ratio, remember that a simple 1 means that a factor does not affect the chance of something happening at all; anything above 1 means something is more likely when the factor is accounted for, while anything below 1 means something is less likely when the factor is accounted for.)