Screening and brief interventions for reducing alcohol consumption in a department of firefighters in the central region of Portugal
Background: It is known that additive behaviors and dependencies in the workplace are a significant problem with consequences on the health of workers, their safety and absenteeism and productivity (approximately 40% of work-related accidents are related to alcohol consumption). The consumption of alcoholic beverages in the workplace is not only boosted by unemployment and job insecurity, but also by intense work, unregulated hours, stress and depression. The profession of firefighter is classified as of high risk, since firemen are constantly subject to stressful situations that cause high levels of tension and emotional exhaustion.
Objective: To assess the lifestyle behaviors, such as alcohol and other psychoactive substances consumption, and develop interventions based on identified risk levels.
Methods: The study was carried out in a department of firefighters in the central region of Portugal. Individual interviews were performed in December of 2018, duly authorized and confidentiality and anonymity of all participants was kept. The data collection instrument used was a questionnaire which integrates questions related to health and health behaviors such as alcohol use (Alcohol Use Disorders Test - AUDIT), tobacco and other psychoactive substances, eating, exercise, sleeping habits and stress management.
Results: Of the 29 interviewees, 2 were female and 27 were male. The sample had a mean age of 45.7 years, 93.1% lived with their family and in relation to schooling, the majority of the workers (41.4%) completed the 12th year. Concerning the consumption of psychoactive substances, in relation to tobacco, 5 people (17.2%) smoke. Of these, two smoke 1 to 4 cigarettes a day, a person smokes between 5 to 10 cigarettes a day, a person smokes more than 10 cigarettes a day and a person smokes about 1 cigarette a month. Concerning the scores obtained with the AUDIT instrument, 96.6% of the participants presented a low-risk alcohol consumption, and educational counseling was conducted. Only one of the participants (3.4%) presented risky alcohol consumption and simple advice was given.
Conclusion: The follow-up to assess the effect of BIs in reducing alcohol consumption will be performed in March 2019.