Work Stress and Alcohol Use: Examining the Tension-Reduction Model as a Function of Worker’s Parent’s Alcohol Use

Leon Grunberg, University of Puget Sound
Sarah Moore, University of Puget Sound
Edward Greenberg, Institute of Behavioral Science, University of Colorado at Boulder, Boulder , CO 80309, USA
Patricia Sikora, LLC, 2247 Grayden Ct., Superior, CO 80027, USA

Abstract

In an effort to identify groups who may be more vulnerable to tension-reduction drinking [Frone, M. (2003). Predictors of overall and on-the-job substance use among young workers. Journal of Occupational Health Psychology, 8, 39–54.], we examine whether drinking alcohol in response to work stress varies as a function of whether workers were raised in homes where (a) both parents abstained from alcohol, (b) at least one parent drank nonproblematically, (c) at least one parent drank problematically, or (d) both parents drank problematically. Employees participating in a large, longitudinal study who reported using alcohol in the previous year (N = 895) completed various measures of work stressors, alcohol use, and alcohol problems. We found few mean group differences for either the work stressor or alcohol measures, but we did find a greater number of significant and moderate correlations between work stressors and alcohol for those reporting that both parents drank alcohol problematically. Interestingly, a number of significant correlations were found for those reporting that both parents abstained from alcohol; few were found for the two groups reporting that at least one parent drank with or without alcohol problems. Results are interpreted in light of where and how alcohol expectancies and other coping methods are learned.