Policemen and ambulancemen are often perceived to have a high prevalence of excessive alcohol consumption although there is little actual proof of this. It is thought that the male dominance of both professions, the fact that the work is organised on shift patterns and the high levels of stress involved cause an increased rate of drinking. A survey of 2,372 police and 1,096 ambulance staff in Norway found that they drank much less than their Australian counterparts and at about the same level as Norwegian doctors. 17.7% of policemen and 16.6% of ambulancemen were heavy drinkers compared to 9.1% of policewomen and 7.4% of ambulancewomen. Personnel who were male, younger and had higher levels of neuroticism had higher rates of alcohol problems. Drinking to cope was associated with higher levels of alcohol problems but was found to moderate the effect of depersonalization (e.g. a cynical and distant attitude toward one's work and the people with whom one works) and gender.
Sterud, T. ... [et al] - Occupational stress and alcohol use : a study of two nationwide samples of operational police and ambulance personnel in Norway Journal of Studies on Alchohol and Drugs November 2007, 68(6), 896-904