Aims: To investigate whether abstainers fare worse than non-abstainers on the labour market because a subset of the abstainers are ex-drinkers with alcohol problems. Methods: In the cross-sectional population survey ‘health 2000 in Finland’ (n = 10 000) carried out in 2000, alcohol dependency was measured using the DSM-IV diagnostic criteria for alcohol dependence. The CIDI (composite international diagnostic interview) was applied to ascertain lifetime DSM-IV diagnoses for substance abuse diagnoses, including alcohol dependence. Individuals were considered to be employed if they were working part-time or full-time. Results: Male abstainers have on average 9.5 percentage points lower employment probability than non-abstainers. However, abstainers who have never drunk alcohol do not have lower employment probability than non-abstainers. Abstainers who are diagnosed as alcohol dependent have 27 percentage points lower employment probability than non-abstainers. Conclusion: The underperformance of abstainers in a labour market sense is almost entirely due to the fact that some abstainers are ex-drinkers who in our study are identified as alcohol-dependent. Otherwise abstaining does not decrease employment probability.
- 511 Nationalekonomi