A new study reviewed the relationship between occupation and alcohol use disorders (AUDs) in workers during early adulthood to middle age, and the news for women in particular should give pause.

Investigators focused on the “substantive complexity” of work as an indicator of work trajectory — that is, whether individuals were progressing in their careers in terms of factors such as decision latitude and expanded work abilities.

Researchers reviewed factors such as drinking more than intended or unsuccessful attempts to cut down on drinking.

This analysis discovered AUDs were initially present in about 15 percent of men and 7.5 percent of women.

Lower work trajectory was linked to a higher rate of AUDs, both initially and during follow-up. For both men and women, career advances were associated with decreased AUD rates.

Although men had higher AUD rates, the association between AUD and flat or downward occupational trajectory appeared stronger in women. In contrast, higher education was more strongly associated with lower AUD risk in men.

Together with previous reports, the study suggests that “declining occupational trajectory is a consequence of AUD development,” rather than a predictor.

However, the link between AUDs and occupation appears to be “complex and reinforcing,” according to researchers John D. Meyer, M.D., M.P.H., of Icahn-Mount Sinai School of Medicine, New York, and Miriam Mutambudzi, Ph.D., M.P.H., of Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, Baltimore.

They add that women’s career paths “may be more readily disrupted” by AUDs, compared to men’s.

Source: Wolters Kluwer Health