The Relationship Between Alcohol Problems and Well-Being, Work Attitudes and Performance: Are They Monotonic?

Document Type


Publication Date


Publication Title

Journal of Substance Abuse


Sociology & Anthropology


Purpose. Investigators who have examined the relationship between work characteristics and off-the-job alcohol consumption or problems have typically assumed a linear or monotonic relationship (e.g., as work pressures increase, so do alcohol consumption and problems). In the present study, we examine this monotonicity assumption by investigating the nature of the relationships between alcohol problems and multiple demographic, work attitude, well-being, and work performance variables. Method. Survey data and data from company records were collected from a large sample of blue- and white-collar employees (N=2,279). Participation was voluntary, confidential, and compensated with a $20 payment. Results. Evidence for several different types of statistical relationships between alcohol problems and other variables were found through both analyses of variance (ANOVA) and covariance (ANCOVA). There were several variables that were linearly related to alcohol problems. There was also some support for a “threshold” effect where only the most problematic drinkers (2.6% of sample) showed declines on job attitude and general well-being indices. In some cases, those who drank but report no alcohol problems showed significantly more positive job and life attitudes than either those who abstained or those who had relatively more alcohol problems. Implications. We conclude that strict linearly based relationships might not necessarily explain the work-to-drink relationship most effectively.