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Original research
Intraindividual association between shift work and risk of drinking problems: data from the Finnish Public Sector Cohort
  1. Wan-Ju Cheng1,2,3,
  2. Mikko Härmä4,
  3. Aki Koskinen4,
  4. Mika Kivimäki5,
  5. Tuula Oksanen4,
  6. Ming-Chyi Huang6,7,8
  1. 1 Department of Psychiatry, China Medical University Hospital, Taichung, Taiwan
  2. 2 Department of Public Health, China Medical University, Taichung, Taiwan
  3. 3 Center for Drug Abuse and Addiction, China Medical University Hospital, China Medical University, Taichung, Taiwan
  4. 4 Finnish Institute of Occupational Health, Helsinki, Finland
  5. 5 Clinicum, Faculty of Medicine, University of Helsinki, Helsinki, Finland
  6. 6 Department of Psychiatry, Taipei City Psychiatric Center, Taipei City Hospital, Taipei, Taiwan
  7. 7 Department of Psychiatry, School of Medicine, College of Medicine, Taipei Medical University, Taipei, Taiwan
  8. 8 Psychiatric Research Center, Taipei Medical University Hospital, Taipei, Taiwan
  1. Correspondence to Dr Ming-Chyi Huang, Department of Psychiatry, Taipei City Hospital Songde Branch, Taipei City 110, Taiwan; mch{at}


Objectives Studies concerning the association between shift work and drinking problems showed inconsistent results. We used data from a large occupational cohort to examine the association between shift work and different types of drinking behaviour.

Methods A total of 93 121 non-abstinent workers from the Finnish Public Sector Study were enrolled in the study. Six waves of survey data were collected between 2000 and 2017. Work schedules were categorised as regular day, non-night shift and night shift work, and shift intensities were calculated from registered working hour data. Two indicators of adverse drinking behaviour were measured: at-risk drinking (>7 and >14 drinks per week in women and men, respectively) and high-intensity drinking (measured as pass-out experience). Intraindividual analysis was conducted using fixed-effects regression to examine the association between shift work and drinking behaviours.

Results Compared with regular day work, night shift work was associated with an increased risk of high-intensity drinking (OR 1.28, 95% CI 1.07 to 1.52) but a lower risk of at-risk drinking (OR 0.85, 95% CI 0.74 to 0.99). Shift workers who worked long shifts had a lower risk of at-risk drinking compared with those who rarely worked long shifts (OR 0.58, 95% CI 0.37 to 0.93).

Conclusions Associations between shift work and alcohol use vary according to drinking patterns. Workers engaged in high-intensity drinking more often during night shift schedules compared with day work, but did not drink averagely higher volume.

  • shift work schedule
  • alcohol drinking
  • sleep
  • epidemiology
  • occupational health

Data availability statement

Data are available on reasonable request.

Statistics from

Data availability statement

Data are available on reasonable request.

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  • Contributors W-JC and MH conceived and designed the study. MH and MK established the cohort and designed the questionnaire. AK derived the work characteristic variables. WJ-C analyzed the data and drafted the manuscript. TO, M-CH, and MK assisted with the data analysis strategy, data interpretation, and drafting of the manuscript. All authors contributed to the editing of the manuscript and have approved the final version.

  • Funding This paper was supported by the Finnish Academy (grant number: 323882), China Medical University Hospital (grant number: DMR-109-247), Ministry of Science and Technology, Taiwan (grant number: MOST 108-2918-I-039-001, 107-2314-B-039 -06 -MY3, 109-2314-B-532-004), and NordForsk, the Nordic Program on Health and Welfare (grant number: 74809). Author MK is supported by NordForsk (75021), the Academy of Finland (311492), and the Helsinki Institute of Life Science.

  • Disclaimer The funders had no role in the study design; the collection, analysis, and interpretation of the data; the writing of the report; or the decision to submit the paper for publication.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

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