An ecological analysis of alcohol-outlet density and campus-reported violence at 32 U.S. colleges

J Stud Alcohol Drugs. 2010 Mar;71(2):184-91. doi: 10.15288/jsad.2010.71.184.


Objective: The purpose of this study was to assess the relationships among campus violence, student drinking levels, and the physical availability of alcohol at off-campus outlets in a multisite design.

Method: An ecological analysis of on-campus violence was conducted at 32 U.S. colleges. Dependent variables included campus-reported rates of rape, robbery, assault, and burglary obtained from a U.S. Department of Education online database for the years 2000-2004. Measures of student alcohol use and demographics were obtained from student surveys conducted for the Social Norms Marketing Research Project from 2000 to 2004. Measures of alcohol-outlet density within 3 miles of each campus were obtained from state alcohol-licensing authorities for 2004.

Results: Both on- and off-premise alcohol-outlet densities were associated with the campus rape-offense rate but not with the assault or robbery rates. Student drinking level was associated with both campus rape and assault rates but not with the campus robbery rate. The apparent effect of on-premise outlet density on campus rape-offense rates was reduced when student drinking level was included in the model, suggesting that the effect of on-premise outlet density may be mediated by student drinking level. Separate analyses revealed a similar mediational role for off-premise outlet density.

Conclusions: These findings demonstrate that there is a campus-level association between sexual violence and the campus-community alcohol environment.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Alcohol Drinking / epidemiology*
  • Alcoholic Beverages / supply & distribution*
  • Commerce / statistics & numerical data*
  • Crime / statistics & numerical data
  • Data Collection
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Rape / statistics & numerical data
  • Students / statistics & numerical data
  • United States
  • Universities
  • Violence / statistics & numerical data*