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Past projects

Alcohol consumption occupational risk factors

This study initially investigated whether there was a link between stress at work and alcohol related disorders, hazardous drinking or binge drinking among bank workers in Brazil.

The initial analysis is complete and the database collected will now be used to investigate whether alcohol consumption has an effect on health care costs, and whether there is a link between job strain and other mental health problems. The information has been collected from workers in a financial institution in Salvador.

The prevalence of alcohol dependence in Brazil is high, ranging from eight to 11 per cent of the adult population in some regions. Studies in developed countries have linked alcohol dependence to absenteeism from work, early retirement, physical diseases and mortality as well as low educational achievement, social class and family history. Even though some professions have a higher prevalence of alcohol consumption, there is little research about occupational risk factors.

Epidemiological research about stress at work and mental health are rare in Brazil, as are studies of health care costs.

The banking sector in Brazil has been rapidly restructured in recent years: since the 1990s, downsizing and mergers have been commonplace. At the same time, new technology has been introduced throughout the banking industry along with new ways of working. The effect of these changes on mental health, including alcohol related disorders, has not been studied. The results of this study could inform future job redesign and health care planning.

The project has the support of the health management organisation that provides health care to participating bank workers and their families. This organisation pays for every legal health treatment authorised by the Ministry of Health (HMO) in Brazil.

A random sample of 1,080 employees from representative departments of a bank in Salvador were asked to participate in a survey which measured the demands of their jobs, the amount of control they have in the workplace and stress they experience at work as well as their alcohol consumption patterns. Teams of interviewers asked participating employees to complete a self-report questionnaire in their workplace. Hazardous drinking was measured using the AUDIT (Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Test) and alcohol related disorders were assessed through CIDI (Composite International Diagnostic Interview).

The health management organisation provided information it routinely collects about health care costs in the year following the survey.

The principal investigator is psychiatrist Dr Carlos Lima

The research is funded by a grant from the health management organisation that provides health care to the participating bank employees.
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