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Original research
Intraindividual association between shift work and risk of drinking problems: data from the Finnish Public Sector Cohort


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.

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