A new study shows, perhaps unsurprisingly, that people are more likely to drink to excess during recessions. And the most educated, richest people are most likely to overindulge.
According to EurekAlert, the study authors looked at data from 2001 to 2005 and concluded that alcohol abuse — measured by binge drinking, drunk driving, and alcoholism — goes up as the economy tanks. And it's not just jobless people who are affected — people who still have their jobs are also more likely to binge drink or drive drunk. Says study author Michael T. French, "The way we explain this is even though employed individuals have a job, they could be affected psychologically (e.g., fear of losing their job) from an economic downturn, leading them to have more drinking days and driving under the influence episodes as the State-level unemployment rate increases."
So economic downturns stress out even people with jobs, causing them to drink away their jitters? Sounds about right. This is interesting, though: people with the highest incomes and education levels are actually most likely to binge-drink during a recession. It's unclear why this is — maybe they just have the money to buy booze. Whatever the cause, it's clear that recessions hit people all the way up the economic ladder — if not in their wallets, then in their livers.
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