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Young adults who work 50 or more hours a week are at significantly higher risk of developing alcohol-related problems, compared with young adults who don’t work, a new study suggests.

The Independent reports researchers in New Zealand studied 1,019 people ages 25 to 30. They found both men and women who worked at least 50 hours a week were between 1.8 to 3.3 times more likely than those who were not working to have alcohol-related problems including more frequent alcohol use, and higher rates of alcohol abuse and dependence. The findings are published in the journal Addiction.

Lead researcher Sheree Gibb said people working long hours may be using alcohol to reduce job-related stress. Working in a place where long hours are the norm may lead to a social atmosphere where drinking with colleagues is common, she added. She noted the findings point to the need for anti-alcohol abuse programs aimed at people working long hours.

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