Regional abundance of on-premise outlets and drinking patterns among Swiss young men: district level analyses and geographic adjustments

Drug Alcohol Rev. 2014 Sep;33(5):526-33. doi: 10.1111/dar.12149. Epub 2014 Apr 30.


Introduction and aims: This study investigated the associations of alcohol outlet density with specific alcohol outcomes (consumption and consequences) among young men in Switzerland and assessed the possible geographically related variations.

Design and methods: Alcohol consumption and drinking consequences were measured in a 2010-2011 study assessing substance use risk factors (Cohort Study on Substance Use Risk Factors) among 5519 young Swiss men. Outlet density was based on the number of on- and off-premise outlets in the district of residence. Linear regression models were run separately for drinking level, heavy episodic drinking (HED) and drinking consequences. Geographically weighted regression models were estimated when variations were recorded at the district level.

Results: No consistent association was found between outlet density and drinking consequences. A positive association between drinking level and HED with on-premise outlet density was found. Geographically weighted regressions were run for drinking level and HED. The predicted values for HED were higher in the southwest part of Switzerland (French-speaking part).

Discussion and conclusions: Among Swiss young men, the density of outlets and, in particular, the abundance of bars, clubs and other on-premise outlets was associated with drinking level and HED, even when drinking consequences were not significantly affected. These findings support the idea that outlet density needs to be considered when developing and implementing regional-based prevention initiatives.

Keywords: alcohol outlet density; alcohol use; drinking consequence; geographic modelling; heavy episodic drinking.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Alcohol Drinking / epidemiology*
  • Alcoholic Beverages / supply & distribution*
  • Cohort Studies
  • Commerce / statistics & numerical data*
  • Humans
  • Linear Models
  • Male
  • Risk Factors
  • Switzerland / epidemiology
  • Young Adult