A new study suggests that in hard economic times, people drink more alcohol. Intuitively, it might make sense, but the findings run counter to most previous research, which shows that alcoholism and other drinking-related problems tend to decline along with the economy.
For the new study, researchers at University of Miami looked at the connections between risky drinking and state unemployment rates in a sample of more than 43,000 people surveyed between 2001 and 2005. That was before the current economic crisis, but because the health of individual states’ economies varied during that time, researchers could make comparisons between them.
The study found that each 1% increase in the state unemployment rate corresponded to a nearly 17% increase in cases of alcoholism or alcohol abuse and a 35% increase in rates of drunk driving.
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