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Dose–response relationship between alcohol consumption and workplace absenteeism in Australia

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posted on 2024-01-04, 03:09 authored by Melvin Barrientos Marzan, Sarah CallinanSarah Callinan, Michael LivingstonMichael Livingston, Heng JiangHeng Jiang
Introduction: Workplace absenteeism is a burden in Australia. The estimated productivity losses due to alcohol were around $4.0 billion in 2017, with absenteeism driving 90% of these costs. We aim to determine the dose–response relationship between average daily alcohol consumption and heavy episodic drinking (HED) frequency and workplace absenteeism amongst Australian workers. Methods: We used the 2019 National Drug Strategy Household Survey of Australian employed workers aged ≥20 years to 69 years old. Respondents' average daily alcohol consumption was categorised into four: abstainers, light to moderate (1–20 g of alcohol/day), risky (>20–40 g of alcohol/day) and high-risk (>40 g of alcohol/day). HED was classified into four frequency measures (never, less than monthly, monthly, weekly). The outcome variables came from dichotomised measures of: (i) absence due to alcohol consumption; and (ii) broader sickness absence–absence due to illness or injury in the previous 3 months. Results: Risky (adjusted odds ratio 4.74 [95% CI 2.93–7.64]) and high-risk drinking (adjusted odds ratio 6.61 [95% CI 4.10–10.68]) were linked to increased odds of alcohol-related absence. Higher HED frequency was significantly associated with alcohol-related and broader sickness absenteeism. No significant associations exist between regular alcohol consumption and broader sickness absence in fully adjusted models. Discussion and Conclusions: Findings suggest that only HED is linked to broader sickness absence. However, there is a strong dose–response association between alcohol consumption and alcohol-related absences for both consumption measures amongst Australian workers. Population-level policies that reduce alcohol consumption to moderate level and less frequent HED might address workplace absenteeism.

Funding

National Health and Medical Research Council, Grant/Award Number: GNT1141325; Australian Research Council-Discovery Project Grant, Grant/Award Numbers: FT210100656, DE200100496, DP200101781

History

Publication Date

2023-11-01

Journal

Drug and Alcohol Review

Volume

42

Issue

7

Pagination

12p. (p. 1773-1784)

Publisher

Wiley

ISSN

0959-5236

Rights Statement

This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. © 2023 The Authors.Drug and Alcohol Review published by John Wiley & Sons Australia, Ltd on behalf of Australasian Professional Society on Alcohol and other Drugs.

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