Drinking environment and sociodemographic factors among DWI offenders

J Stud Alcohol. 1996 Nov;57(6):659-69. doi: 10.15288/jsa.1996.57.659.


Objective: This study was designed to identify issues for public health/traffic safety in prevention of DWI and alcohol-related traffic injuries/deaths by investigating the relationships among drinking locations, sociodemographic characteristics and drinking-environment-related factors of convicted DWI offenders.

Method: Subjects were clients (N = 5,154, 79% male) referred to the Lovelace Comprehensive Screening Program for alcohol-related assessment and were interviewed by counselors using a structured, computer-based questionnaire. Differences among ethnic/racial and gender categories were analyzed by logistic regression.

Results: (1) Some groups showed a higher rate of DWI convictions, compared to the adult county population: young, single male: Hispanic and Mexican National; divorced/ separated/widowed (increasing with age): (2) older, educated or employed offenders reported drinking more in bars/lounges, while younger offenders were more likely drinking in private parties; (3) Hispanic and Mexican National men showed equal likelihood of drinking with friends and relatives in bars/lounges, whereas non-Hispanic white males reported drinking more with friends; and (4) Native Americans were associated with higher blood alcohol concentration (BAC) and alcohol-related problems.

Conclusions: (1) Young offenders' drinking and social behavior in private parties has implications for traffic safety; (2) divorced/separated offenders suggest a need for attention to underlying emotional problems; (3) strong family ties among Hispancies and Mexican Nationals may be a factor in remedial treatment; (4) Native American BAC statistics showed a need for further study; (5) multiple offenders' association with away-from-home drinking locations increased their risk of being involved in fatal crashes; and (6) server intervention programs should be emphasized to minimize intoxication of customers in commercial establishments.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Accidents, Traffic / prevention & control
  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Alcohol Drinking* / ethnology
  • Alcohol Drinking* / legislation & jurisprudence
  • Alcohol Drinking* / psychology
  • Alcoholic Intoxication / epidemiology
  • Alcoholic Intoxication / ethnology
  • Alcoholic Intoxication / etiology
  • Automobile Driving / legislation & jurisprudence*
  • Demography
  • Female
  • Hispanic or Latino
  • Humans
  • Indians, North American
  • Male
  • Mexican Americans
  • New Mexico / epidemiology
  • Social Environment*
  • Socioeconomic Factors
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Whites