Is heavy drinking an integral part of a sailor’s life?

The impact of occupational culture on drinking behaviour of young adults in the U.S. Navy

From: Journal of Mixed Methods Research

Although heavy drinking is widely perceived to be a fundamental part of Navy life, little has been known about specific elements of the U.S. Navy workplace that may influence alcohol consumption. Previous surveys have identified that rates of heavy drinking are consistently higher for young adults in the military compared to civilians, and in fact higher among military populations of all ages. It is observed there are several important features of the Navy that contribute to problem drinking, perhaps most importantly the Navy culture has emphasized drinking as a mechanism for male bonding, recreation, and stress relief.

This mixed method study offers a comprehensive understanding of the contributory factors crucial to designing effective interventions. Findings may heighten awareness that elements of organizational culture can put young adults entering the workplace at risk for unhealthy drinking patterns.

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A mixed method study assessed how work culture and drinking norms affect heavy drinking patterns of young adults during their first 3 years in the U.S. Navy. Multivariate logistic regression analysis of the longitudinal survey data showed that normative beliefs were significantly associated with changes in drinking. Findings from thematic analyses of qualitative interviews and naturalistic observations on bases and aboard ships explained those elements of U.S. Navy culture and work environments that affect normative beliefs about drinking behavior.

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Article details:

Title: The Impact of Occupational Culture on Drinking Behavior of Young Adults in the U.S. Navy

Authors: Genevieve M. Ames, Michael R. Duke ,.Roland S. Moore and Carol B. Cunradi

From: Journal of Mixed Methods Research, Vol. 3, No. 2, 129-150 (2009)
DOI: 10.1177/1558689808328534

First published: April 2009

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