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An eye opener, but mostly for others: Employees’ perceptions on workplace alcohol education programmes
Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Criminology. Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Centre for Social Research on Alcohol and Drugs (SoRAD).
2013 (English)In: Health Education, ISSN 0965-4283, Vol. 113, no 2, 144-159 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Purpose – The aim of this study is to examine the rarely heard opinions of participants in alcohol educations – in this case, employees at three workplaces. What opinions were found in relation to the initiative, its content and effects, and what are the underlying notions from which these opinions derive?

Design/methodology/approach – The study material consisted of ten group interviews and questionnaire responses (n:298) with both fixed and open response alternatives. The data were analysed using thematic analysis and frequency tables.

Findings – The alcohol educations appear to be perceived as legitimate and relatively unproblematic. Most opinions focused on the basic approaches used in alcohol education programmes at a more general level; there should be no lecturing and no moralizing and the content and lecturer should be trustworthy. One important finding is that education programmes like these are perceived as being useful, but mostly for others. These opinions appeared to be associated with two overarching themes in particular: paternalism and beneficence.

Originality/value – The results of the study provide some idea of the value placed on education programmes of this kind from the perspective of the participants. Alcohol education programmes are perceived as being important and justified since they produce benefits for others, for those at risk. If the education programme is presented as being health promotive rather than risk reducing it is more likely to be perceived as relating to everyone, not only “the others”. The results may be of relevance for those planning and performing many types of health education programmes.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2013. Vol. 113, no 2, 144-159 p.
Keyword [en]
alcohol prevention, workplace, education
National Category
Sociology (excluding Social Work, Social Psychology and Social Anthropology)
Research subject
General Criminology
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-83829DOI: 10.1108/09654281311298821OAI: diva2:577038
Available from: 2012-12-14 Created: 2012-12-14 Last updated: 2013-03-12Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Mission Impossible? Universal Alcohol Prevention at Workplaces in Sweden
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Mission Impossible? Universal Alcohol Prevention at Workplaces in Sweden
2013 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Since the mid 1990s, alcohol policy in Sweden has undergone major changes and the restrictive policy instruments have been weakened. Alternative and compensatory preventive measures have been sought and the workplace is repeatedly referred to as an important and appropriate arena for prevention. Universal methods, such as disseminating information and education programs, are seen as crucial in order for individuals to be able to make informed choices about their alcohol consumption.

The overall purpose of this thesis is to analyze the prerequisites for and the possibilities and barriers associated with alcohol education programs at workplaces. The first paper investigates the general interest in alcohol prevention at workplaces where no interventions had been undertaken. The second paper is an effect study which investigates the effects of a short alcohol education program provided to those employed at a company in Stockholm. In the third paper, the effects of a day-long alcohol education program provided to all persons employed by a municipality are studied. The fourth paper is an interview study, in which the aim is to analyze how the participants in alcohol education programs view their participation and the content and legitimacy of the intervention.

The findings suggest that interest in prevention at workplaces is low among employers. In addition, there are difficulties linked to implementation and evaluation, and in achieving and registering any substantial effects. The effect studies noted a significant increase in alcohol-related knowledge and that binge drinking decreased among those who drank the most. The employees found the education programs interesting and valuable but mostly for others, i.e. those who drink too much. Taken together, the studies suggest that it is not reasonable to believe that workplace-based prevention will become a common and effective measure or that it will compensate for the weakened alcohol policy in Sweden.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: Department of Criminology, Stockholm University, 2013. 77 p.
Avhandlingsserie / Kriminologiska institutionen, Stockholms universitet, ISSN 1404-1820 ; 31Centre for Social Research on Alcohol and Drugs, ISSN 1650-819X ; 11
alcohol, prevention, alcohol policy, education, intervention, workplaces, evidence-based methods
National Category
Social Sciences
Research subject
General Criminology
urn:nbn:se:su:diva-88173 (URN)978-91-7447-633-0 (ISBN)
Public defence
2013-04-19, hörsal 4, hus B, Universitetsvägen 10 B, Stockholm, 09:30 (Swedish)

At the time of the doctoral defense, the following papers were unpublished and had a status as follows: Paper 2: Accepted. Paper 3: Submitted.

Available from: 2013-03-26 Created: 2013-03-08 Last updated: 2013-05-03Bibliographically approved

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Eriksson Tinghög, Mimmi
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