Surveying the range and magnitude of alcohol's harm to others in Australia
Article first published online: 5 AUG 2011
© 2011 The Authors, Addiction © 2011 Society for the Study of Addiction
Volume 106, Issue 9, pages 1603–1611, September 2011
How to Cite
Laslett, A.-M., Room, R., Ferris, J., Wilkinson, C., Livingston, M. and Mugavin, J. (2011), Surveying the range and magnitude of alcohol's harm to others in Australia. Addiction, 106: 1603–1611. doi: 10.1111/j.1360-0443.2011.03445.x
- Issue published online: 5 AUG 2011
- Article first published online: 5 AUG 2011
- Accepted manuscript online: 25 MAR 2011 05:23AM EST
- Submitted 22 July 2010; initial review completed 30 September 2010; final version accepted 16 March 2011
- harm to others;
- social consequences;
Aims This study aims to document the adverse effects of drinkers in Australia on people other than the drinker.
Design Cross-sectional survey.
Setting In a national survey of Australia, respondents described the harmful effects they experienced from drinkers in their households, family and friendship networks, as well as work-place and community settings.
Participants A randomly selected sample of 2649 adult Australians.
Measurements Problems experienced because of others' drinking were ascertained via computer-assisted telephone interviews. Respondent and drinker socio-demographic and drinking pattern data were recorded.
Findings A total of 70% of respondents were affected by strangers' drinking and experienced nuisance, fear or abuse, and 30% reported that the drinking of someone close to them had negative effects, although only 11% were affected by such a person ‘a lot’. Women were more affected by someone they knew in the household or family, while men were more affected by strangers, friends and co-workers. Young adults were consistently the most negatively affected across the majority of types of harm.
Conclusions Substantial proportions of Australians are affected by other people's drinking, including that of their families, friends, co-workers and strangers. These harms range in magnitude from noise and fear to physical abuse, sexual coercion and social isolation.