Alcohol outlet density and harm: comparing the impacts on violence and chronic harms

Drug Alcohol Rev. 2011 Sep;30(5):515-23. doi: 10.1111/j.1465-3362.2010.00251.x.


Introduction and aims: A number of studies have previously identified relationships between the density of alcohol outlets and rates of violence, with different types of outlets related to violence in different locations. The previous work in Australia has been limited to studies based on police data, which are subject to numerous biases. This study extends the previous work by utilising hospital admissions as a less biased outcome measure, incorporating a 14 year longitudinal design and by developing comparative models for violence and rates of alcohol use disorders.

Design and methods: The study examines trends in postcode-level hospital admission data for assault and for alcohol use disorders over a 14 year period (n = 186) and their relationship with the density of three kinds of alcohol outlets. Fixed-effects models are developed to control for the differences between postcodes and for the overall trends in outlet density and morbidity rates.

Results: The results of this study suggest that the density of alcohol outlets where the main activity is alcohol consumption (i.e. pubs) is positively related to rates of assault-related hospital admissions, while the density of off-premise alcohol outlets is related to the rate of alcohol use disorders.

Discussion and conclusions: These findings have significant implications for alcohol policies in Victoria, in particular pointing to the significant contribution of packaged alcohol outlets to both acute and chronic alcohol-related harm.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Alcohol Drinking / epidemiology*
  • Alcohol-Related Disorders / epidemiology
  • Alcoholic Beverages / supply & distribution*
  • Bias
  • Commerce / statistics & numerical data
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Hospitalization / statistics & numerical data*
  • Humans
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Models, Statistical
  • Time Factors
  • Victoria / epidemiology
  • Violence / statistics & numerical data*