Date Approved


Date Posted


Degree Type

Open Access Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Department or School

Sociology, Anthropology, and Criminology

Committee Member

Denise Reiling, PhD, Chair

Committee Member

Robert Orrange, PhD


Despite reports indicating high levels of alcohol use in the restaurant industry, little research has examined alcohol use among restaurant workers in an in depth fashion. Through an examination of personal characteristics, workplace stress, and workplace culture, this study explores the prevalence of alcohol use in the restaurant industry. Twenty restaurant employees were interviewed, recruited via snowball sampling and flyers posted on various college campuses in southeast Michigan. High levels of alcohol use were found to be related to a combination of personal characteristics, workplace stress, and workplace culture. Results supported social learning theory, with heavy drinking being positively and negatively reinforced, having no significant deterrence, and thus established as normative behavior. Findings also suggest that more could be done to curb heavy drinking, particularly with regards to the cultural elements (tolerance for hung-over employees, after-shift drinking, on-the-clock drinking, etc.), implementing drug-testing programs, and providing employees with substance abuse information.

Included in

Sociology Commons