Changes in Australian attitudes to alcohol policy: 1995–2010

Authors

  • Sarah Callinan,

    Corresponding author
    1. Centre for Alcohol Policy Research, Turning Point, Melbourne, Australia
    2. Eastern Health Clinical School, Monash University, Melbourne, Australia
    • Correspondence to Dr Sarah Callinan, Centre for Alcohol Policy Research, Turning Point Alcohol and Drug Centre, 54-62 Gertrude St, Fitzroy, Vic. 3065, Australia. Tel: +61 (0)3 8413 8475; Fax: +61 (0)3 9416 3420; E-mail: sarahc@turningpoint.org.au

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  • Robin Room,

    1. Centre for Alcohol Policy Research, Turning Point, Melbourne, Australia
    2. Melbourne School of Population & Global Health, University of Melbourne, Melbourne, Australia
    3. Centre for Social Research on Alcohol & Drugs, Stockholm University, Stockholm, Sweden
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  • Michael Livingston

    1. Centre for Alcohol Policy Research, Turning Point, Melbourne, Australia
    2. Drug Policy Modelling Program, National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre, Melbourne, Australia
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  • Sarah Callinan PhD, Research Fellow, Adjunct Research Fellow, Robin Room PhD, Director, Professor, Professor of Alcohol Policy Research, Michael Livingston PhD, Post-doctoral Research Fellow.

Abstract

Introduction and Aims

In 2009 Wilkinson and colleagues reported a downward trend in support for alcohol policy restrictions in Australia between 1995 and 2004. The aim of the current study is to examine more recent data on policy support in Australia, specifically for policies covering alcohol availability up to 2010, and to examine specific demographic shifts in support.

Design and Methods

Data was taken from the National Drug Strategy Household Surveys from 1995, 1998, 2001, 2004, 2007 and 2010 (n = 80 846), primarily responses to attitude items on policy restriction and demographic questions. The effects of age, sex, drinking patterns and income over time on three items addressing restriction of alcohol availability were assessed using a factorial analysis of variance.

Results

Although availability items are among the less popular policy restrictions put forward in the National Drug Strategy Household Surveys, 2004 actually represented a turning point in the decrease in popularity, with an increase in support since then. Though some groups show consistently higher rates of support than others for policy restrictions, the rate of change in support was fairly uniform across demographic and drinking groups.

Discussion and Conclusions

Despite the lack of an obvious catalyst, there has been an increase in support for alcohol policy restriction as it relates to general availability and accessibility since 2004. Furthermore, this increase does not appear to be a reflection of a change in a specific group of people, but appears to be occurring across the Australian population. [Callinan S, Room R, Livingston M. Changes in Australian attitudes to alcohol policy: 1995–2010. Drug Alcohol Rev 2014;33:227–234]

Ancillary