205231 Days totally unable to work, and days more than an hour late for work from use of alcohol: Estimating costs of heavy drinking patterns in the 2000 and 2005 U.S. National Alcohol Surveys

Monday, November 9, 2009: 9:45 AM

Thomas K. Greenfield, PhD , Alcohol Research Group, Public Health Institute, Emeryville, CA
Yu Ye, MS , Alcohol Research Group, Public Health Institute, Emeryville, CA
William C. Kerr, PhD , Alcohol Research Group, Public Health Institute, Emeryville, CA
Lorraine T. Midanik, PhD , Social Welfare, University of California, Berkeley, Berkeley, CA
Jason Bond, PhD , Alcohol Research Group, Public Health Institute, Emeryville, CA
Cheryl J. Cherpitel, DrPH , Alcohol Research Group, Public Health Institute, Emeryville, CA
Jürgen Rehm, PhD , Social, Prevention and Health Policy Research Department, Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, Toronto, ON, Canada
Productivity losses due to alcohol use represent a major tangible cost to society. We investigate how drinking patterns affect alcohol-related work incapacitation, losses from days unable to work (and separately, being late for work) due to respondents' own alcohol use. Data come from representative US adult population telephone surveys of 50 states plus DC, the 2000 and 2005 NASs. Segmentation analyses used CHAID (Chi-Squared Automatic Interaction Detection) with drink-ethanol adjusted volume and frequencies of 5+, 8+ and 12+ drinks in a day to define risk groups. We calculated prior 12-month losses among current drinkers employed at least part time (pooled n = 6290). At various volume levels, heavy quantity days, based on 5+, 8+ and 12+ thresholds, strongly affect mean days missed. Overall 2.4% workers reported alcohol-related missed days (1.7% late > 1 hour). Among those averaging more than 4 drinks/day with any 12 drink days, 18% reported drinking related missed days, and 10% tardiness. At mid-volumes, 5+ and 8+ patterns distinguished higher risks: e.g., at 1-4 drinks/day volumes, 8.0% who drank 5+ above 3 times/month missed work, vs 1.0% with ≤ 3 5+ days/year. Heavy drinking patterns also strongly affect mean productivity losses derived from personal income/day estimated from self-reported household income (both p <<.001). Lowest risk groups had little alcohol-related absenteeism (mean productivity losses <$) while highest risk groups averaged over 7 days missed and mean losses up to $500 per person (some individual productivity losses > $30,000). Public health policy and prevention interventions are considered.

Learning Objectives:
Define drinking patterns and how these influence the risk of work absenteeism. Describe new ways epidemiologists are ascertaining risks and evaluating their cost to society. Discuss the policy implications of alcohol-related productivity losses and implications for legislative & workplace interventions.

Keywords: Alcohol Problems, Alcohol Use

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have moderated numerous ATOD sessions as well as plenary sessions at APHA; I direct an NIAAA-funded national alcohol research center on the epidemiology of alcohol problems and have 30 years of professional alcohol policy experience
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.