Drinking locations and alcohol-related harm: Cross-sectional and longitudinal associations in a sample of young Swiss men

Int J Drug Policy. 2015 Jul;26(7):653-61. doi: 10.1016/j.drugpo.2014.11.004. Epub 2014 Nov 15.


Background: Alcohol consumption--in particular drinking volume (DV) and risky single occasion drinking (RSOD)--has been related to a wide range of negative consequences and health problems. Previous studies also suggested that drinking in certain locations may be more strongly associated with the occurrence of alcohol-related harm than drinking in others. However, they were conducted in countries culturally and legally different from European countries and were limited to cross-sectional designs. This study investigates the cross-sectional and longitudinal associations of alcohol-related harm with DVs in different locations in a sample of young Swiss men.

Methods: A representative sample of 4536 young Swiss male drinkers completed baseline and 15-month follow-up questionnaires. These assessed DVs in 11 locations, alcohol-related harm (i.e. number of alcohol-related consequences and alcohol use disorder criteria) and frequency of RSOD. Cross-sectional and longitudinal associations of alcohol-related harm with DVs in each location were tested using regression models, with and without adjustment for frequency of RSOD.

Results: Both cross-sectional and longitudinal analyses showed significant positive associations between alcohol-related harm and DVs at friends' homes, in discos/nightclubs and in outdoor public places, when controlling for frequency of RSOD. In contrast, the contribution of DVs at one's own home and in restaurants was consistently not significant when adjusted for frequency of RSOD. When controlling for RSOD, associations between alcohol-related harm and DVs in bars/pubs, when playing sports, during other leisure activities, at cinemas/theatres, during sporting events, and during special events were not consistent between cross-sectional and longitudinal analyses.

Conclusion: Results suggest that prevention interventions should not only target reducing the overall volume of alcohol consumed and the frequency of RSOD in general, but they should additionally focus on limiting alcohol consumption in outdoor public places, discos/nightclubs, and in friends' homes in particular, or at least on preventing harm occurring in these occasions.

Keywords: Alcohol use; Alcohol use disorders; Alcohol-related consequences; Drinking location; Switzerland; Young adults.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Alcohol Drinking / epidemiology*
  • Alcohol-Related Disorders / epidemiology*
  • Binge Drinking / epidemiology*
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Friends
  • Humans
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Male
  • Regression Analysis
  • Restaurants
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Switzerland / epidemiology
  • Young Adult