A systematic review of work-place interventions for alcohol-related problems

Aims: The aims of this study were to (1) gauge any improvement in methodological quality of work-place interventions addressing alcohol problems; and (2) to determine which interventions most effectively reduce work-place-related alcohol problems. Methods: A literature search was undertaken of the data bases, Ovid Medline, PsychINFO, Web of Science, Scopus, HSELINE, OSHLINE and NIOSHTIC-2 for papers published between January 1995 and September 2007 (inclusive). Search terms varied, depending on the database. Papers were included for analysis if they reported on interventions conducted at work-places with the aim of reducing alcohol problems. Methodological adequacy of the studies was assessed using a method derived from the Cochrane Collaboration guidelines. Results: Ten papers reporting on work-place alcohol interventions were located. Only four studies employed randomized controlled trials (RCT), but all these had methodological problems. Weaknesses in all studies related to representativeness of samples, consent and participation rates, blinding, post-test time-frames, contamination and reliability, and validity of measures used. All except one study reported statistically significant differences in measures such as reduced alcohol consumption, binge drinking and alcohol problems. Conclusions: The literature review revealed few methodologically adequate studies of work-place alcohol interventions. Study designs, types of interventions, measures employed and types of work-places varied considerably, making comparison of results difficult. However, it appears from the evidence that brief interventions, interventions contained within health and life-style checks, psychosocial skills training and peer referral have potential to produce beneficial results.

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