Alcohol consumption and labour market participation: a prospective cohort study of transitions between work, unemployment, sickness absence, and social benefits

Maja Bæksgaard Jørgensen*, Jacob Pedersen, Lau Caspar Thygesen, Cathrine Juel Lau, Anne Illemann Christensen, Ulrik Becker, Janne S. Tolstrup

*Corresponding author for this work

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Abstract

The aim of this study was to investigate the association of alcohol consumption and problem drinking on transitions between work, unemployment, sickness absence and social benefits. Participants were 86,417 men and women aged 18–60 years who participated in the Danish National Health Survey in 2010. Information on alcohol consumption (units per week) and problem drinking (CAGE-C score of 4–6) was obtained by questionnaire. The primary outcome was labour market attachment. Information on labour market attachment was obtained from the national administrative registers during a 5-year follow-up period. Using Cox proportional hazards models, we estimated hazard ratios (HR) for transitions between work, unemployment, sickness absence and social benefits. Analyses were adjusted for potential confounders associated with demography, health, and socio-economy. High alcohol consumption and problem drinking was associated with higher probability of unemployment, sickness absence and social benefits among participants employed at baseline compared with participants who consumed 1–6 drinks/week. High alcohol consumption and problem drinking was associated with lower probability of returning to work among participants receiving sickness absence at baseline compared with participants who consumed 1–6 drinks/week and with non-problem drinkers: HRs were 0.75 (0.58–0.98) for 35+ drinks per week and 0.81 (0.65–1.00) for problem drinking (CAGE-C score of 4–6). Similar trends for weekly alcohol consumption and problem drinking were observed among participants who were unemployed at baseline. In summary, problem drinking has adverse consequences for labour market participation and is associated with higher probability of losing a job and a lower chance of becoming employed again.

Original languageEnglish
JournalEuropean Journal of Epidemiology
Volume34
Issue number4
Pages (from-to)397-407
ISSN0393-2990
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 15. Apr 2019

Keywords

  • Alcohol
  • Labour market participation
  • Prospective cohort study

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