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J Interpers Violence. 2012 Sep;27(13):2703-27. doi: 10.1177/0886260512436396.

Alcohol availability and neighborhood poverty and their relationship to binge drinking and related problems among drinkers in committed relationships.

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  • 1University of Washington, Seattle, WA, USA.


The authors examined the relationship of alcohol outlet density (AOD) and neighborhood poverty with binge drinking and alcohol-related problems among drinkers in married and cohabitating relationships and assessed whether these associations differed across sex. A U.S. national population couples survey was linked to U.S. Census data on AOD and neighborhood poverty. The 1,784 current drinkers in the survey reported on their binge drinking, alcohol-related problems, and other covariates. AOD was defined as the number of alcohol outlets per 10,000 persons and was obtained at the zip code level. Neighborhood poverty was defined as having a low (<20%) or high (≥20%) proportion of residents living in poverty at the census tract level. We used logistic regression for survey data to estimate odds ratios and 95% confidence intervals and tested for differences of associations by sex. Associations of neighborhood poverty with binge drinking were stronger for male than for female drinkers. The association of neighborhood poverty with alcohol-related problems was also stronger for men than for women. We observed no relationships between AOD and binge drinking or alcohol-related problems in this couples survey. Efforts to reduce binge drinking or alcohol-related problems among partners in committed relationships may have the greatest impact if targeted to male drinkers living in high-poverty neighborhoods. Binge drinking and alcohol-related problems, as well as residence in an impoverished neighborhood are risk factors for intimate partner violence (IPV) and other relationship conflicts.

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