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

Shakey Rodriguez, the Miami high school basketball coaching legend, vividly remembers the first time ...

It was a good day for the Miami Hurricanes basketball team. They moved up to No. 6 in the AP Top 25 ...

Erykah Davenport and Shaneese Bailey made key plays back-to-back late in the game and four players s ...

1. MARLINS: Jeter's Fish trade Gordon. Stanton next?: While others spend -- like the Angels to ...

A six-pack of Hurricanes notes on a Thursday: ▪ With the first ever early signing period just two we ...

William W. Sandler Jr. Center for Alcohol and Other Drug Education earns national recognition for it ...

Retired baseball star Alex Rodriguez gives "Major League" advice to UM’s fall graduating c ...

Becoming the Man of the Hour ...

Always a little bit of a flair for the dramatic. ...

A scholarship created by retired Major League Baseball star Alex Rodriguez and born out of his love ...

The University of Miami women's basketball team capped its seven-game homestand with a 79-31 wi ...

University of Miami senior wide receiver Braxton Berrios earned 2017 first-team 2017 CoSIDA Academic ...

The Hurricanes and Colonials square off at noon Saturday in Washington, D.C. ...

University of Miami men's basketball player Chris Stowell is an active member in the Hurricanes ...

Eighteen Hurricane student-athletes graduated from four schools and colleges at the University of Mi ...

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.