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Mission Impossible? Universal Alcohol Prevention at Workplaces in Sweden
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)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.
Series
Avhandlingsserie / Kriminologiska institutionen, Stockholms universitet, ISSN 1404-1820 ; 31Centre for Social Research on Alcohol and Drugs, ISSN 1650-819X ; 11
Keyword [en]
alcohol, prevention, alcohol policy, education, intervention, workplaces, evidence-based methods
National Category
Social Sciences
Research subject
General Criminology
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-88173ISBN: 978-91-7447-633-0 (print)OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-88173DiVA: diva2:610043
Public defence
2013-04-19, hörsal 4, hus B, Universitetsvägen 10 B, Stockholm, 09:30 (Swedish)
Opponent
Supervisors
Note

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
List of papers
1. Alcohol prevention in the Swedish workplace – who cares?
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Alcohol prevention in the Swedish workplace – who cares?
2004 (English)In: Contemporary Drug Problems, ISSN 0091-4509, E-ISSN 2163-1808, Vol. 31, no 2, 263-285 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

In this article we discuss what interest, and whose interest, there is in working with alcohol and drug prevention in workplaces. As the Swedish alcohol policy has weakened, alternative ways for primary prevention are sought. Public reports have pointed out the workplace as one arena for prevention that could compensate for the government's diminishing alcohol control. Will this work? What conditions are necessary in order to work successfully with these issues in a corporate environment? Several studies have suggested that there is little interest in working with prevention in workplaces, and this study supports this finding. This study involved interviews at 16 companies in Sweden with personnel managers, employees (in focus groups), union representatives, and in some cases the company's health care department. In a preliminary stage the findings verified our hypothesis that the overall interest in primary prevention in reality is not that strong. The participants in the study believed that the responsibility lies in intervention when the alcohol or drug problem has arisen, and there is really not much the company can do to prevent people from using alcohol or drugs.

Keyword
Prevention, workplaces, alcohol policy, alcohol problems
National Category
Social Sciences
Research subject
General Criminology
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:su:diva-59044 (URN)
Available from: 2011-06-20 Created: 2011-06-20 Last updated: 2017-12-11Bibliographically approved
2. The workplace as an arena for universal alcohol prevention– what can we expect? An evaluation of a short educational intervention
Open this publication in new window or tab >>The workplace as an arena for universal alcohol prevention– what can we expect? An evaluation of a short educational intervention
2014 (English)In: Work: A journal of Prevention, Assesment and rehabilitation, ISSN 1051-9815, E-ISSN 1875-9270, Vol. 47, no 4, 543-551 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Background: The workplace is repeatedly being referred to as an appropriatearena for alcohol prevention and dissemination of information. Whether thepressure on employers to work with prevention is realistic or if these kinds of measures have any potential in real life is however rarely discussed. An alcohol education at a company in Sweden was to be evaluated in terms of effectiveness and this study reports the findings.

Objective: The primary aim of this study was to evaluate whether an alcohol education program provided to all employees at a company in Stockholm,Sweden had any effect on alcohol consumption and alcohol-relatedknowledge. The increasing pressure on employers to work with alcoholprevention and on the concurrent problems of implementing and evaluating these types of interventions in real life is reviewed.

Methods: Pre- and post-test questionnaires were employed in a quasiexperimental design using a sample of convenience from two companies: one intervention and one control. Data was analyzed using repeated measures ANOVA-tests focused on the participants’ AUDIT-scores, frequency of binge drinking and alcohol-related knowledge.

Results: Significant improvement in the employees’ alcohol-related knowledge was shown, but there were no significant effects on alcohol consumption.

Conclusions: Results of this study confirms most previous findings, but also raises the importance of considering the value of educating all employees and the willingness of employers to initiate preventive measures. Evaluating interventions of this kind is complicated, and it is also difficult to find results showing behavioural change in populations whose alcohol consumption is moderate.

Keyword
Working life, alcohol prevention, education program, risk knowledge, effectiveness
National Category
Sociology
Research subject
General Criminology
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:su:diva-88161 (URN)10.3233/WOR-131733 (DOI)000335015600013 ()
Available from: 2013-03-08 Created: 2013-03-08 Last updated: 2017-12-06Bibliographically approved
3. Preventing alcohol problems and improving drinking habits among employees: An evaluation of an alcohol education
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Preventing alcohol problems and improving drinking habits among employees: An evaluation of an alcohol education
(English)Article in journal (Refereed) Submitted
Abstract [en]

Aim: To investigate whether a day-long alcohol education provided to all employed by a Swedish municipality had an effect on alcohol consumption among all employees and among employees with lowand higher levels of consumption respectively.

Methods: A quasi-experimental evaluation using pre- and post-test questionnaires was performed. The municipality’s employees were divided in one intervention group (n:124) and one control group (n:139). ANOVA with repeated measures was performed on AUDIT-score and on three separate AUDIT-items; frequency of drinking, frequency of binge drinking and typical amount consumed per drinking occasion.

Results: No significant effect on alcohol consumption was identified for the intervention group as a whole. Stratified analyses showed that the intervention had a significant effect on reducing the frequency of binge drinking among those with the highest consumption.

Conclusions: Compared to many other studies on alcohol educations some results on behaviour were found when performing stratified analyses. The employees with the highest alcohol consumption, although not labelled high consumers, reduced their frequency of binge drinking. It is though difficult to speculate in whether these results can be generalized to other working populations. The results also have to be valued and compared with other more direct methods of reaching risk consumers, such as screening and brief interventions.To know more about alcohol and associated risk might facilitate thewillingness to seek help sooner.

Keyword
Alcohol, prevention, workplaces, intervention, education, evaluation
National Category
Social Sciences
Research subject
General Criminology
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:su:diva-88162 (URN)
Available from: 2013-03-08 Created: 2013-03-08 Last updated: 2013-03-12Bibliographically approved
4. An eye opener, but mostly for others: Employees’ perceptions on workplace alcohol education programmes
Open this publication in new window or tab >>An eye opener, but mostly for others: Employees’ perceptions on workplace alcohol education programmes
2013 (English)In: Health Education, ISSN 0965-4283, E-ISSN 1758-714X, 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.

Keyword
alcohol prevention, workplace, education
National Category
Sociology (excluding Social Work, Social Psychology and Social Anthropology)
Research subject
General Criminology
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:su:diva-83829 (URN)10.1108/09654281311298821 (DOI)
Available from: 2012-12-14 Created: 2012-12-14 Last updated: 2017-12-06Bibliographically approved

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