Team awareness, problem drinking and drinking climate : workplace social health promotion in a policy context

Purpose. (1) To determine the effectiveness of classroom health promotion/prevention training designed to improve work climate and alcohol outcomes; (2) to assess whether such training contributes to improvements in problem drinking beyond standard workplace alcohol policies. Design. A cross-sectional survey assessed employee problem drinking across three time periods. This was followed by a prevention intervention study; work groups were randomly assigned to an 8-hour training course in workplace sical health promotion (Team Awareness), a 4-hour informational training course, or a control group. surveys were administered 2 to 4 weeks before and after training and 6 months after posttest. Setting and subjects. Employees were surveyed from work departments in a large municipality of 3000 workers at three points in time(year, sample and response rate are shown): (1) 1992, n=1081, 95%; 1995, n=856, 97%; and (3) 1999, n=587, 73%. Employees in the 1999 survey were recruited from safety sensitive departments and were randomly assigned to receive the psychosocial (n=201), informational (n=192), or control (n=194) condition. Intervention. The psychosocial program (Team Awareness) provided skills training in team referral, team building and stress management. Informational training used a didactic review of policy, employee assistance and drug testing. Measures. Self-reports measured alcohol use (frequency, drunkenness, hangovers, and problems) and work drinking climate (enabling, responsiveness, drinking norms, stigma, and drink with co-workers). Results. Employees receiving Team Awareness reduced problem drinking from 20% to 11% and working with or missing work because of a hangover from 16% to 6%. Information-trained workers also reduced problem drinking from 18% to 10%. These rates of change contrast with changes in problem drinking seen from 1992 (24%) to 1999 (17%). Team Awareness improvements differed significantly from control subjects, which showed no change at 13%. Employees receiving Team Awareness also showed significant improvements in drinking climate. For example, scores on the measure of coworker anabling decreased from pretest (mean=2.19) to posttest (mean=2.05) and follow up (mean=1.94). Posttest measures of drinking climate also predicted alcohol outcomes at 6 months. Conclusion. Employers should consider the use od prevention programming as an enhancement to standard drug-free workplace efforts. Team Awareness training targets work group social health, aligns with employee assistance efforts, and contributes to reductions in problem drinking.

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