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Increase in drinking among middle class

A growing number of white-collar workers are drinking too much because of stress, according to researchers at Sunderland University.

They say white collar workers, a term used to describe people who have a professional or managerial-role, are "largely disregarding the harmful health and social effects" of drinking alcohol.

Researchers say middle-class workers who drank at home saw alcohol as a reward for everyday chores after work hours, such as looking after their children and cooking dinner for the family.

They are describing it as a 'middle-class alcohol time-bomb'.

"One of the issues that people tend to focus on in relation to alcohol use is 'problem drinking'. Problem drinking is usually thought of in terms of young people binge drinking in city centres, or people with alcohol dependency.

"However, what is starting to be recognised is that regularly consuming alcohol at lower levels than would cause intoxication is likely to be harmful to health, and that the people that drink most regularly aren't young people, but those who live in households where someone has a managerial or professional job."

– Dr Jonathan Ling, Senior Lecturer in Public Health, University of Sunderland

"Our research showed a common perception among some middle-class groups that regularly drinking at home, particularly wine, is safe and sensible, even though such drinking regularly takes them over the recommended daily guidelines.

"These home drinkers don't see their drinking pattern as problematic, but evidence suggests that such regular drinking will lead to significant health problems later in life, and a major health burden for the NHS."

– Dr Lyn Brierley-Jones, Research Fellow at the University of Sunderland