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Drinking social norms and drinking behaviours: a multilevel analysis of 137 workgroups in 16 worksites
  1. Tonatiuh Barrientos-Gutierrez1,
  2. David Gimeno2,
  3. Thomas W Mangione3,
  4. Ronald B Harrist4,
  5. Benjamin C Amick1
  1. 1Southwest Center for Occupational and Environmental Health, The University of Texas School of Public Health, Houston, Texas, USA
  2. 2International Institute for Society and Health, Department of Epidemiology and Public Health, University College, London, UK
  3. 3John Snow Inc Research and Training Institute, Boston, MA, USA
  4. 4University of Texas School of Public Health, Houston, Texas, USA
  1. Correspondence to:
 Dr B C Amick III
 Institute for Work and Health, 481 University Avenue, Suite 800, Toronto, Ontario M5G 2E9, Canada; bamick{at}


Background: Previous studies on worksite drinking norms showed individually perceived norms were associated with drinking behaviours.

Objective: To examine whether restrictive drinking social norms shared by workgroup membership are associated with decreased heavy drinking, frequent drinking and drinking at work at the worker level.

Methods: The sample included 5338 workers with complete data nested in 137 supervisory workgroups from 16 American worksites. Multilevel models were fitted to examine the association between workgroup drinking norms and heavy drinking, frequent drinking and drinking at work.

Results: Multivariate adjusted models showed participants working in workgroups in the most discouraging drinking norms quartile were 45% less likely to be heavy drinkers, 54% less likely to be frequent drinkers and 69% less likely to drink at work than their counterparts in the most encouraging quartile.

Conclusions: Strong associations between workgroup level restrictive drinking social norms and drinking outcomes suggest public health efforts at reducing drinking and alcohol-related injuries, illnesses and diseases should target social interventions at worksites.

  • ICC, intraclass correlation coefficient
  • OR, odds ratio
  • alcohol
  • drinking
  • social norms
  • worksite
  • multilevel

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  • Published Online First 24 May 2007