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Reducing Heavy Alcohol Consumption in Young Restaurant Workers

Kirk M. Broome, Joel B. Bennett

Objective: Restaurant employees often have high rates of heavy drinking and problems with alcohol. This study evaluates reductions in drinking and associated problems at work, in connection with a new program for prevention and early intervention. The program, called Team Resilience, is designed for young restaurant workers. Method: A cluster-randomized trial design was used, with 28 stores from a national casual-dining restaurant chain and 235 of their employees (54% male, 46% female). Fourteen stores received the Team Resilience training workshop, consisting of three 2-hour sessions held on 3 consecutive days. Sessions included group discussion, role-play and practice activities, and a learning game. Results: Workers in trained stores reported significantly greater decreases in recurring heavy drinking (i.e., having five or more drinks on the same occasion, on 5 or more days in the past month) and work-related problems with alcohol than workers in control stores. In the intervention group, the odds of recurring heavy drinking declined by about one half and the number of work-related problem areas declined by one third following training. In addition, drinking behaviors and problems were tied to age and were most common among employees in their middle 20s. Conclusions: Findings support Team Resilience as an effective intervention for reducing drinking and associated problems among young restaurant workers, a population with substantial needs. (J. Stud. Alcohol Drugs, 72, 117-124, 2011)