Does alcohol outlet density affect youth access to alcohol?

J Adolesc Health. 2009 Jun;44(6):582-9. doi: 10.1016/j.jadohealth.2008.10.136. Epub 2009 Feb 28.


Purpose: To investigate how community alcohol outlet density may be associated with alcohol access among adolescents.

Methods: Data were collected through a three-wave panel study with youth aged 14-16 at baseline using computer-assisted telephone interviews. Study participants were recruited from 50 zip codes with varying alcohol outlet density and median household income in California. Data analyses were conducted using multilevel, linear growth models and data from 1028 youth (52% male, 51% white).

Results: After taking into account individual-level factors and zip code median household income, zip code alcohol outlet density was significantly and positively related to the initial levels of the likelihood and frequency of getting alcohol through various sources including commercial outlets, shoulder tapping, home or family members, and underage acquaintances.

Conclusions: High levels of alcohol outlets in the community enable youth access to alcohol through commercial outlets, family, and social networks.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adolescent Behavior
  • Alcohol Drinking*
  • Alcoholic Beverages / supply & distribution*
  • California
  • Commerce*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Interviews as Topic
  • Male