US trends in binge drinking by gender, occupation, prestige, and work structure among adults in the midlife, 2006–2018

By Sarah McKetta, Seth J. Prins, Lisa M. Bates, Jonathan M. Platt, Katherine M. Keyes in Class conflict and public health

June 30, 2021


June 30, 2021


12:00 AM



Rates of binge drinking have nearly doubled among US women ages 30–49 since 2006. Employment influences alcohol use and varies by the prestige and structure (e.g., authority, autonomy, expertise) of one’s occupation.


We examined trends in binge drinking among adults ages 30–49 in the labor force in 2006–2018 National Health Interview Surveys (N = 108,981) by occupation, work prestige (General Social Survey’s occupational prestige score), work structure (occupational authority, autonomy, automation, expertise), and gender. We estimated odds of binge drinking by year with survey-weighted logistic regression controlled for sociodemographics, smoking, and disability.


In 2018, 30% of women and 43% of men reported binge drinking; drinking increased annually from 2006–2018 (OR for women = 1.08, OR for men = 1.03). Work status, prestige, and work structure modified the association. Women in high- (OR = 1.10, 95% CI: 1.09–1.12) versus low-prestige (OR = 1.05, 95% CI: 1.04–1.06) jobs had higher increases, as did men in high-prestige jobs (OR = 1.04, 95% CI: 1.03–1.05). Respondents in higher relative to lower authority, autonomy, and expertise jobs increased binge drinking.


Though all strata of workforce adults increased binge drinking, increases were concentrated among women in higher-status careers, implicating gendered shifts in labor as one determinant of recent national alcohol trends.

Posted on:
June 30, 2021
1 minute read, 210 words
Class conflict and public health
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