Methods: Data came from the International Youth Development Study (IYDS), a gender-balanced, statewide representative sample of the 2002 cohort of 7th grade students in the U.S. state of Washington (WA, n=961) and the Australian state of Victoria (VIC, n=984). The two states were matched on SES and urbanicity but differed in their approaches to alcohol. This study used self-report data collected at age 25 in 2014 (87% retention). Alcohol misuse was measured using the Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Test (AUDIT). Logistic regression analyses were adjusted for gender, race, and drinking in adolescence.
Results: Young adults (YA) in VIC were significantly more likely than YA in WA to engage in risky drinking (29% vs. 17%), to report that alcohol was available at work (47% vs. 22%), that drinking at work was tolerated or encouraged (14% vs. 7%), that their coworkers drank at work or came to work under the influence of alcohol (32% vs. 26%), and that they themselves had used alcohol at work (including lunch and breaks) in the past year (26% vs. 14%). VIC YA were less likely to say that their workplace had a written alcohol policy (56% vs. 70%) and personal attitudes toward drinking at work (e.g., going to work with a hangover) did not differ across states. All of the workplace factors were significantly associated with higher risk drinking in both states (adjusted odds ratios of 1.3 to 4.7); but most risk factors were more predictive of YA drinking in the U.S. (with the exception of workplace tolerance of drinking and coworkers drinking at work).
Conclusions: Prevention of workplace alcohol availability and pro-drinking norms should be considered as viable targets for intervention during young adulthood.