News

Drinking increases as unemployment rises

Binge drinking is increasing as more people lose their jobs, dispelling the notion that high unemployment rates have left people too poor to afford expensive drinking habits, according to research conducted at the University of Miami.

Health economics professor Michael French, along with his partners Maria Davalos and Hai Fang, investigated this unusual connection.

“We started reading literature that showed that, as the economy goes downhill, drinking rates decrease with it because there is less money to spend on it,” French said. “Due to the economic status now, we wanted to investigate if this matter was still true.”

Binge drinking is defined as consuming four drinks for men and three for women in two hours or less. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 70 percent of binge drinking episodes occur with adults over the age of 26.

“When people lose their jobs or go from full-time to part-time positions, they have more leisure time, which causes them to drink more,” French said. “Also, people try to cope with losing their jobs by using the medication method, alcohol being the medicine.”

The National Survey on Alcohol and Related Conditions has drawn the same conclusion as the UM study. Results showed that, as unemployment rates rise, both binge drinking and alcohol dependency increase.

Ray Winters, a professor in the health division of UM’s Department of Psychology, believes that binge-drinking tendencies are tied to how individuals normally handle stress.

“There are probably more people engaging in poor coping strategies, such as drinking or substance abuse, because there are more people who are suffering because of the economic downturn,” Winters said.

The study showed that the age demographic of those most likely to engage in binge drinking is between 18 and 24 years old, and African Americans are more likely than other races to binge drink. This is largely a consequence of high unemployment rates for these two groups. The research, which was published in Health Economics, analyzed alcohol consumption data from 2001 to 2005, according to the Miami New Times.

November 6, 2011

Reporters

Ariele Gallardo


Around the Web
  • Miami Herald
  • UM News
  • HurricaneSports

The Hurricanes have become part of college football’s national conversation, and the more wins they ...

Kicker Michael Badgley will soon become the University of Miami’s all-time field goal leader. In the ...

University of Miami coach Mark Richt called Darrell Langham’s amazing, 28-yard catch on fourth-and-1 ...

Darrell Langham is 6-4, but might as well be 8-4 — that’s how much he has grown in stature for the M ...

The Miami Hurricanes have done it again. For the second week in a row, the Canes rallied to win in t ...

From a game simulating how whales navigate to a tribute to Ella Fitzgerald, the U showcased some of ...

A new mobile game called Blues and Reds, now available worldwide, aims to help researchers study int ...

A major Lancet Commission report, a three-year project headed by UM’s Professor Felicia Knaul and co ...

With a $6.8 million NIH grant, the UM School of Nursing and Health Studies and FIU Robert Stempel Co ...

A summer 2017 excursion unlike any other united a group of University of Miami students and faculty ...

Hurricanes legends Michael Irvin, Ray Lewis, Ed Reed, Warren Sapp and Sean Taylor were officially ad ...

University of Miami wide receiver Darrell Langham and kicker Michael Badgley were among those recogn ...

University of Miami redshirt setter Haley Templeton was named ACC Player of the Week, the conference ...

Freshman Bojan Jankulovski highlighted Day 2 competition on Saturday for the University of Miami men ...

The University of Miami's football game at North Carolina on Oct. 28 will kick off at noon ET o ...

TMH Twitter Feed
About TMH

The Miami Hurricane is the student newspaper of the University of Miami in Coral Gables, Fla. The newspaper is edited and produced by undergraduate students at UM and is published weekly in print on Tuesdays during the regular academic year.