Over the last decade or so, studies of workplace drinking have become increasingly concerned with factors in the workplace that may influence drinking patterns, rather than concentrating solely on methods of identifying problem drinkers within the work force. This line of research is just beginning to mature, and we hope to contribute to these developments through a design that comprises the following features and objectives: 1) A three-wave prospective survey of work groups from a major utility company will maximize occupational variability to address the issue of how the structure of work may constrain or encourage different drinking patterns, and whether drinkers migrate to jobs that are conducive toward their drinking style. 2) We will employ a comprehensive set of variables aimed at measuring the effect of occupation and the workplace on alcohol consumption patterns. 3) A major focus of the proposed study will be on social networks, which we anticipate will be key mediating factors in the individual's response to occupational characteristics. 4) We will employ both survey and ethnographic methods in a fully integrated fashion to """"""""triangulate"""""""" on influential mechanisms and possibly discover some not described in the literature. 5) We will examine the influence of occupation on drinking within the context of the individual's nonwork roles and responsibilities. 6) Another objective of the proposed study will be to investigate the degree to which age, race, & gender differences in drinking reflect people having different roles and responsibilities (e.g., families) that mediate the workplace's degree of influence on their behavior. We anticipate that this 5-year project (beginning December 1, 1992 and ending November 30, 1997) will lay the foundation for a future prevention intervention evaluation study within the same corporation. Not only will this direct our attention towards those variables amenable to intervention, but it will provide a much stronger research base for the prevention program design and implementation that is ordinarily available.

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National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA)
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