Medical Problems of Performing ArtistsMedical Problems of Performing Artists

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Alcohol Use by Australian Actors and Performing Artists: A Preliminary Examination from the Australian Actors' Wellbeing Study

Marianna Szabó, Ian Maxwell, Mitchell L. Cunningham, Mark Seton
From: Medical Problems of Performing Artists: Volume 35 Number 2: Page 73 (June 2020)

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Abstract: BACKGROUND: Anecdotal and media reports suggest that actors and performing artists are vulnerable to high levels of alcohol use. However, little empirical research is available to document the extent and correlates of alcohol use amongst these artists, particularly in an Australian context. OBJECTIVE: This study investigated alcohol use in a sample of Australian actors and other performing artists and its associations with sociodemographic background, psychological wellbeing, and work stress. METHODS: An online survey was distributed to the Equity Foundation membership representing Australian actors and performing artists. The survey included questions on sociodemographic and occupational background and psychological wellbeing (DASS-21), as well as the AUDIT questionnaire to assess self-reported alcohol consumption. A sample of 620 performing artists responded to the survey, a large majority of whom were actors. RESULTS: Australian actors and performing artists appear to consume alcohol at levels that are higher than those found in the general Australian population. About 40% of men and 31% of women were classified as drinking alcohol at potentially harmful or hazardous levels. Alcohol use was not strongly associated with age, education, or income, but it had a relationship with poorer psychological wellbeing. About 50% of respondents reported that their alcohol drinking was related to work stress as a performer. This perception was more pronounced amongst those performers who reported drinking at harmful levels. CONCLUSIONS: Australian actors and performing artists appear to be an at-risk population for harmful or hazardous alcohol use.

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