Importance: Alcohol use disorder (AUD) is common and associated with increased morbidity. The degree to which AUD currently factors into workplace absenteeism needs further characterization in the US. Objective: To examine the association between AUD and workplace absenteeism in a nationally representative sample. Design, Setting, and Participants: This cross-sectional study used data from a nationally representative sample of noninstitutionalized US residents from the 2015-2019 National Survey on Drug Use and Health to examine the association of AUD with workplace absenteeism. Eligible respondents were aged 18 years and older who reported full-time employment. Data were analyzed from March to September 2021. Main Outcomes and Measures: Primary outcomes were markers of workplace absenteeism as defined by the number of days missed from work because of illness or injury and days skipped from work in the last 30 days. Descriptive statistics, prevalence ratios, and logistic regression analyses were performed to assess the association between AUD and absenteeism. Results: A total of 110701 adults aged 18 years and older reported current full-time employment (58948 [53.2%] men, 51753 [46.8%] women; 12776 [11.5%] Black, 18096 [16.3%] Hispanic, and 69506 [62.8%] White respondents). Weighted prevalence of AUD in this sample of working adults was 9.3% (95% CI, 9.0%-9.5%); 6.2% (95% CI, 6.0%-6.4%) of respondents met criteria for mild AUD, 1.9% (95% CI, 1.7%-2.0%) for moderate AUD, and 1.2% (95% CI, 1.1%-1.3%) for severe AUD. Mean days missed from work annually increased in a stepwise fashion with increasing AUD severity (no AUD, 13.0 days; 95% CI, 12.7-13.2 days; mild AUD, 17.7 days; 95% CI, 16.4-19.1 days; moderate AUD, 23.6 days; 95% CI, 21.5-25.7 days; severe AUD, 32.3 days; 95% CI, 27.5-37.0 days). People with AUD represented 9.3% of the full-time workforce and contributed to 14.1% of total reported workplace absences. Conclusions and Relevance: In this cross-sectional study, AUD was disproportionately associated with an increased prevalence of workplace absenteeism, with individuals with AUD contributing over 232 million missed workdays annually. These results provide economic incentive for increased investment in AUD prevention and treatment, both for employers and policy makers.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere222954
JournalJAMA Network Open
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 17 2022


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