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"Ecological Associations of Alcohol Outlets With Underage and Young Adult Injuries"


This study focuses on the relationship between alcohol outlets and injuries of underage youth (18 to 20 years of age) and young adults (21 to 29 years of age).  Researchers found that injuries were shaped by the density and type of alcohol outlet in neighborhoods.  Alcohol outlets, the independent variable in this study, are defined as off-premise (convenience or grocery stores) and on-premise (bars and restaurants).  Injuries, the dependent variable, were measured by the rates of accidents, traffic crashes, and assaults. Findings were derived using hospital discharge data and patients’ residential zip codes.

Key Findings

Investigators found that among youth and young adults:

  • Densities of off-premise outlets were positively related to the numbers of accidents, assaults, and traffic injuries.

 However, it was found that among only young adults:

  • Higher densities of bars were related to greater numbers of assaults, and higher densities of restaurants were related to greater numbers of traffic injuries.

Implications for Prevention Practice

This article serves as a reminder that effective prevention requires focusing on not just the campus environment, but the alcohol environment of the surrounding community.  With alcohol-related injuries and negative consequences driven by the density and type of alcohol outlets in local neighborhoods, it is critical to collaborate with public health departments, local government, and restaurateurs/bar-owners to develop community-based interventions that address drinking among college students.

Bibliographic Reference

Gruenewald, P. J., Freisthler, B., Remer, L., LaScala, E. A., Treno, A. J., & Ponicki, W.R. (2010). Ecological associations of alcohol outlets with underage and young adult injuries. Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research (ACER). 34, 519-527.

Access to Article

Interested in reading the entire article? You can purchase the article through ACER, or download for free if you have a subscription. link to article