NCBI Bookshelf. A service of the National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health.

Center for Substance Abuse Prevention (US); Grover PL, editor. Preventing Problems Related to Alcohol Availability: Environmental Approaches (Reference Guide). Rockville (MD): Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (US); 1999. (Prevention Enhancement Protocols System (PEPS), No. 3.)

  • This publication is provided for historical reference only and the information may be out of date.

This publication is provided for historical reference only and the information may be out of date.

Cover of Preventing Problems Related to Alcohol Availability: Environmental Approaches (Reference Guide)

Preventing Problems Related to Alcohol Availability: Environmental Approaches (Reference Guide).

Show details

Appendix FAbbreviations and Glossary


ABC Alcoholic Beverage Control agency
ARAC Association for Responsible Alcohol Control
BAC blood alcohol concentration
BAL blood alcohol level
CSAP Center for Substance Abuse Prevention
CUP conditional-use permit
DADP California Department of Alcohol and Drug Problems
DHHS U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
DOT U.S. Department of Transportation
DWI driving while intoxicated
ECAPP Escondido Community Alcohol Planning Project
GAO U.S. General Accounting Office
GIS Geographic Information System
MADD Mothers Against Drunk Driving
MAP municipal alcohol policy
NIAAA National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism
NPN National Prevention Network
PEPS Prevention Enhancement Protocols System
RBS responsible beverage service
SADD Students Against Driving Drunk
SAMHSA Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration
SCOC South Central Organizing Committee
SSA single State agency
TEAM Techniques for Effective Alcohol Management


Alcohol Outlet - A business or location where alcoholic beverages are sold to the public or to a select membership. See Off-Sale Outlet and On-Sale Outlet.

Alcohol Outlet Capacity - The volume of alcoholic beverages outlets can offer patrons; measured for a single establishment or in the aggregate for all outlets in a given area. See Off-Sale Capacity and On-Sale Capacity.

Alcohol Outlet Density - The number of outlets licensed to sell alcohol within a determined geographic area. See Geographic Density.

Assignment - The process by which researchers place study subjects in an intervention, control, or comparison group. Experimental design studies randomly assign study subjects to both intervention and control conditions. In quasi-experimental studies, study subjects are nonrandomly assigned to intervention and comparison conditions. Random assignment increases the likelihood that the intervention and control groups are equal or comparable and have similar characteristics. See Comparison Group and Control Group.

Attrition - An unplanned reduction in the size of a study sample due to participants' dropping out of the evaluation, such as because they moved away from the study location.

Availability - The means by which alcohol is made available at the community level. See Public Availability, Retail Availability, and Social Availability.

Behavioral Factors - Certain patterns of conduct that may be associated with substance abuse-related attitudes or behaviors. Most prominent in substance abuse prevention efforts are behavioral factors that lead to the perception of substance use or related conditions as functional or appropriate. See Environmental Factors, Personal Factors, and Sociodemographic Factors.

Bias - The extent to which a measurement, sampling, or analytic method underestimates or overestimates the true value of an attribute. In general, biases are sources of systematic errors that arise from faulty designs, poor data collection procedures, or inadequate analyses. These errors diminish the likelihood that observed outcomes are attributable to the intervention.

Case Study - A method for learning about a complex situation, based on a comprehensive understanding of that situation obtained through extensive analysis and description of the situation both as a whole and in its particular context.

Commercial Density - The percentage of alcohol outlets in relation to the total number of other commercial (i.e., non-alcohol-related) outlets in a given planning area. See Population Density.

Community - A group of individuals who share cultural and social experiences within a common geographic or political jurisdiction.

Community-Based Approach - A prevention approach that focuses on the problems or needs of an entire community, be it a large city, small town, school, worksite, or public place. See Individual-Centered Approach.

Community Readiness - The degree of support for or resistance to identifying substance use and abuse as significant social problems in a community. Stages of community readiness for prevention provide an appropriate framework for understanding prevention readiness at the community and State levels. See Community Tolerance, Confirmation/Expansion, Denial, Initiation, Institutionalization, Preparation, Preplanning, Professionalization, and Vague Awareness.

Community Tolerance - Community norms that view problematic behavior as socially acceptable or actively encourage it. See Community Readiness.

Comparison Group - In a quasi-experimental evaluation design, a group of evaluation participants who are not exposed to the intervention. This term usually implies that participants are not randomly assigned, but have characteristics similar to those of the intervention group. See Quasi-Experimental Design.

Conceptual Framework - In this guide, the philosophical basis for a prevention approach; specifically, the assumed reasons or hypotheses that explain why the interventions in a specific prevention approach should work.

Conditional-Use Permit - A permit allowing the sale or consumption of alcohol that is granted pursuant to certain terms and conditions. Such permits may be awarded on a temporary or permanent basis.

Confirmation/Expansion - The stage in which existing prevention programs are viewed as effective and authorities support expansion or improvement of the efforts. Data are routinely collected at this stage, at which there is a clear understanding of the local problem and the risk factors for it; new programs are also being planned to reach other community members at this stage. See Community Readiness.

Construct - An attribute, usually unobservable (such as educational attainment or socioeconomic status), that is represented by an observable measure.

Control Group - In experimental evaluation design, a group of participants that is essentially similar to the intervention group but is not exposed to the intervention. Participants are designated to be part of either a control or an intervention group through random assignment. See Experimental Design.

Control State - A state that controls alcohol distribution through a monopoly on sales. See License State and Control System.

Control System - A system in which the State distributes and sells retail alcoholic beverages. See License System.

Conventional Primary Prevention - Substance abuse prevention approaches that focus on deterring initial use. See Conventional Secondary Prevention.

Conventional Secondary Prevention - Psychology-based substance abuse prevention approaches that encourage people to stop using alcohol or drugs. See Conventional Primary Prevention.

Correlational Analysis - A form of relational analysis that assesses the strength and direction of associations between variables.

Cross-Sectional Design - A research design that involves the collection of data on a sample population at a single point in time. When exposure and health status data are collected, measures of associations between them are easily computed. However, because health status and exposure are measured simultaneously, deductions cannot be made that the exposure causes the health status.

Data - Information collected according to a methodology using specific research methods and instruments.

Data Analysis - The process of examining systematically collected information.

Denial - The stage at which an individual's problem behavior is generally not approved of according to community norms. At this stage, people are aware that their behavior is a problem but believe that nothing needs to or can be done about it at a local level. See Community Readiness.

Design - An outline or plan of the procedures to be followed in scientific experimentation and research studies in order to reach valid conclusions. See Experimental Design, Nonexperimental Design, and Quasi-Experimental Design.

Documentation - Entails keeping records, collecting data, and making observations in order to obtain specific kinds of information, such as the rates of alcohol-related problems, consumption, and sales. Also called monitoring.

Econometric Prediction - An estimate derived from the application of statistical methods to the study of economic data and problems.

Effect - A result, impact, or outcome. In evaluation research, attributing an effect to a program or intervention requires establishing, through comparison, a logical relationship between conditions with and without the program or intervention.

Environmental Factors - Those factors that are external or are perceived to be external to an individual but that may nonetheless affect his or her behavior. At a narrow level these factors relate to an individual's family setting and relationships. At the broader level these refer to social norms and expectations as well as policies and their implementation. See Behavioral Factors, Personal Factors, and Sociodemographic Factors.

Evaluation - The analysis of data obtained through documentation in order to assess the operation or impact of a policy, program, or procedure.

Experimental Design - A research design involving random selection of study subjects, random assignment of them to control or intervention groups, and measurements of both groups. Measurements are typically conducted prior to and always after the intervention. The results obtained from such studies typically yield the most interpretable, definitive, and defensible evidence of an intervention's effectiveness.

External Model - An evaluation conducted by persons or an organization not responsible for the policy or program being evaluated. See Internal Model.

External Validity - The extent to which outcomes and findings apply (or can be generalized) to persons, objects, settings, or times other than those that were the subject of the study. See Validity.

Focus Group - A qualitative research method consisting of a structured discussion among a small group of people with shared characteristics. Focus groups are designed to identify subjects' perceptions and opinions about a specific issue and can be used to elicit feedback from target-group subjects about prevention strategies.

Formative Evaluation - A process concerned with helping the development of programs or products through the use of empirical research methodology. Also called feedback evaluation.

Fortified Wine - A wine that has had additional alcohol, usually in the form of grape brandy, added to it either during or after fermentation.

Fugitive Literature - Articles or materials of a scientific or academic nature that are typically unpublished, informally published, or not readily available to the scientific community, such as internal reports and unpublished manuscripts. In this guide, some practice cases are considered fugitive literature.

Geographic Density - The density of alcohol outlets per land area for a given geographic region, such as a planning district, police reporting district, ZIP code, or census tract. See Alcohol Outlet Density.

Happy Hour - A promotional activity, usually held during specific evening hours, in which bars and other on-site outlets provide alcoholic beverages at reduced prices.

High-Risk Outlet - A retail alcohol outlet that endangers the public health, safety, or well-being of the community. The outlet may conduct high-risk promotional activities or contribute to excessive noise, traffic, litter, loitering, or other problems. See High-Risk Setting and Problem Outlet.

High-Risk Setting - A location of alcohol outlets where the threat to the health, safety, or well-being of the community is exacerbated by other factors such as high crime rates or dangerous highways. See High-Risk Outlet.

Incidence - The number of new cases of a disease or occurrences of an event in a particular period of time, usually expressed as a rate, with the number of cases as the numerator and the population at risk as the denominator. Incidence rates are often presented in standard terms, such as the number of new cases per 100,000 population. See Prevalence.

Individual-Centered Approach - A prevention approach that focuses on the problems and needs of the individual. See Community-Based Approach.

Infiltration - The movement of alcoholic beverage sales into commercial outlets in the community that had not previously sold alcohol, such as gas stations, fast-food outlets, and coin-operated laundries. See Proliferation.

Initiation - The stage at which a prevention program is underway but still "on trial." Community members often have great enthusiasm for the effort at this stage because obstacles have not yet been encountered. See Community Readiness.

Institutionalization - What occurs when several prevention programs are supported by local or State governments with established (but not permanent) funding. Although the programs are accepted as routine and valuable practices at this stage, there is little perceived need for changing or expanding the efforts. See Community Readiness.

Instrument - A device researchers use to collect data in an organized fashion, such as a standardized survey or interview protocol.

Intended Measurable Outcomes - In this guide, the overall expected consequences and results of the interventions within each prevention approach.

Intermediate Outcome - An intervention outcome, such as changes in knowledge, attitudes, or beliefs, that occurs prior to and is assumed to be necessary for changes in an ultimate or long-term outcome, such as prevention of or decreases in substance use and related problems.

Internal Model - An evaluation conducted by those closely linked to the policy or program being evaluated. See External Model.

Internal Validity - The ability to make inferences about whether the relationship between variables in a research study is causal in nature and, if it is, about the direction of the causality.

Intervention - An activity or set of activities to which a group is exposed in order to change the group's behavior. In substance abuse prevention, interventions at the individual or environmental level may be used to prevent or lower the rate of substance abuse or substance abuse-related problems.

Lessons Learned - In this guide, conclusions that can be reached about a specific prevention approach based on the research and practice evidence reviewed to evaluate the approach.

License State - A state that employs a license system of alcohol distribution. See Control State and License System.

License System - A system in which the State licenses individuals in the private sector to distribute and sell retail alcoholic beverages. See Control System.

Longitudinal Data - Observations collected over a period of time; the samples may or may not be the same each time. Also called time-series data.

Maturation Effects - Changes in outcomes that are attributable to the participants' growing older, wiser, stronger, more experienced, and the like, solely through the passage of time.

Mean - The arithmetic average of a set of numeric values.

Methodology - A procedure for collecting data. See Instrument.

Multicomponent Program - A prevention program that simultaneously uses multiple interventions that target one or more substance abuse problems. Programs that involve coordinated multiple interventions are likely to be more effective in achieving the desired goals than single-component programs and programs that involve multiple but uncoordinated interventions. See Single-Component Program.

Multivariate - An experimental design or correlational analysis consisting of many independent and/or dependent variables. See Variable.

Natural Experiment - A change in a situation, policy, or process typically not initiated by researchers but which can be evaluated by them. For example, the passage of a law that eliminates a State monopoly and permits private retail alcohol sales may occur for reasons unrelated to substance abuse prevention. However, researchers can evaluate the effect of such a natural experiment on alcohol consumption and alcohol-related problems.

Noble Experiment - Another term for Prohibition or the 18th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

Nonexperimental Design - A type of research design that does not include random assignment or a control group. In nonexperimental research designs the attribution of an observed effect to the intervention is seriously compromised.

Off-Sale Capacity - The linear feet of shelving devoted to alcohol sales, or the square footage of floor space in a retail alcohol outlet. See On-Sale Capacity.

Off-Sale Outlet - A retail alcohol outlet licensed to sell alcohol for consumption outside, but not inside, the licensed establishment. See Alcohol Outlet and On-Sale Outlet.

On-Sale Capacity - The number of seats in an on-sale outlet, or the outlet's square footage. See Off-Sale Capacity.

On-Sale Outlet - A retail alcohol outlet licensed to sell alcohol for consumption within, but not outside, the licensed establishment. See Alcohol Outlet and Off-Sale Outlet.

Outcome Evaluation - An analysis that focuses research questions on assessing the effects of interventions on intended outcomes. See Process Evaluation.

Overconcentration - The distribution of retail alcohol outlets at higher densities in a given commercial area than the average density of retail alcohol outlets in other commercial areas of the community.

Personal Factors - The cognitive processes, values, personality constructs, and sense of psychological well-being inherent to an individual and through which societal and environmental influences are filtered. See Behavioral Factors, Environmental Factors, and Sociodemographic Factors.

Population Density - In this guide, the concentration of retail alcohol outlets per population unit, or the number of outlets for a given population. See Commercial Density.

Practice Evidence - In this guide, information gained from prevention practice cases, generally compiled in the form of well-designed and conducted case studies, which also usually include process evaluation information on program implementation and procedures. See Research Evidence.

Preparation - The stage at which plans are being made to prevent a problem, leadership is active, funding is being solicited, and program pilot tests may be taking place. See Community Readiness.

Preplanning - The stage at which there is a clear recognition that a problem behavior exists locally and that something should be done about it. At this stage, general information on the problem is available and local leaders needed to advance change are identifiable, but no real planning has occurred. See Community Readiness.

Pretests and Posttests - In research designs, the collection of measurements before and after an intervention to assess its effects.

Prevalence - The number of all new and old cases of a disease or occurrences of an event during a particular period of time, usually expressed as a rate, with the number of cases or events as the numerator and the population at risk as the denominator. Prevalence rates are often presented in standard terms, such as the number of cases per 100,000 population. See Incidence.

Prevention Approach - In this guide, a class of substance abuse prevention interventions that share broad common methods and strategies, assumptions (theories or hypotheses), goals, and outcomes. See Cluster.

Probability Sampling - A method for drawing a sample from a population such that all possible samples have a known and specified probability of being drawn.

Problem Outlet - A retail alcohol outlet that resists cooperation with State or local authorities or community groups in addressing high-risk practices or community complaints. See High-Risk Outlet and High-Risk Setting.

Process Evaluation - An assessment designed to document and explain the dynamics of a new or continuing prevention program. Broadly, a process evaluation describes what happened as a program was started, implemented, and completed. A process evaluation is by definition descriptive and ongoing; it may be used to the degree to which prevention program procedures were conducted according to a written program plan. See Outcome Evaluation.

Professionalization - The stage at which detailed information has been gathered about the prevalence, risk factors, and etiology of a local problem. At this point, various programs designed to reach general and specific target audiences are underway. Highly trained staff run the program, and community support and involvement are strong. Also at this stage, effective evaluation is conducted to assess and modify programs. See Community Readiness.

Program Evaluation - The application of scientific research methods to assess a program's concepts, implementation, and effectiveness. See Outcome Evaluation and Process Evaluation.

Proliferation - The expansion of retail alcohol outlets in a given commercial area at rates higher than the rates of expansion of all retail outlets in that area. See Infiltration.

Protective Factor - An influence that inhibits, reduces, or buffers the probability of drug use or abuse or a transition to a higher level of involvement with drugs. See Risk Factor.

Public Availability - Availability of alcohol at public events and in public places. See Retail Availability and Social Availability.

Qualitative Data - In evaluation studies, contextual information that usually describes participants and interventions. These data are often presented as text. The strength of qualitative data is their ability to illuminate evaluation findings derived from quantitative methods. See Quantitative Data.

Quantitative Data - In evaluation studies, measures that capture changes in targeted outcomes (e.g., substance use) and intervening variables (e.g., attitudes toward substance use). The strength of quantitative data is their use in testing hypotheses and determining the strength and direction of effects. See Qualitative Data.

Quasi-Experimental Design - A research design that includes intervention and comparison groups and measurements of both groups, but in which assignments to the intervention or comparison groups are not done randomly. In such research designs, attribution of an observed effect to the intervention is less certain than in experimental designs.

Questionnaire - A research instrument that consists of written questions, usually, each with a limited set of possible responses.

Random Assignment - The process through which members of a pool of eligible study participants are assigned to either an intervention group or a control group on a random basis, such as through the use of a table of random numbers.

Reliability - The extent to which a measurement process produces similar results on repeated observations of the same condition or event.

Representative Sample - A segment of a larger body or population that mirrors in composition the characteristics of the larger body or population.

Research - The systematic effort to discover or confirm facts by scientific methods of observation and experimentation.

Research Evidence - In this guide, information obtained from research studies conducted to evaluate the effectiveness of an intervention and typically published in peer-reviewed journals. This information is based largely on investigations using experimental or quasi-experimental designs. Exceptionally well designed and conducted non-experimental studies are also occasionally accepted as evidence. See Practice Evidence.

Retail Availability - The commercial availability of alcohol. See Public Availability and Social Availability.

Risk Factor - An individual attribute, individual characteristic, situational condition, or environmental context that increases the likelihood of substance use or abuse or an increase in the level of involvement with drugs. See Protective Factor.

Sample - A segment of a larger body or population.

Simple Random Sample - In experimental research designs, a sample derived by indiscriminate selection from a pool of eligible participants, such that each member of the population has an equal chance of being selected for the sample. See Stratified Random Sample.

Single-Component Program - A prevention strategy using a single intervention to target one or more problems. See Multicomponent Program.

Social Availability - The social customs and traditions related to alcohol use. See Public Availability and Retail Availability.

Sociodemographic Factors - Social trends, influences, or population characteristics that affect substance abuse-related risks, attitudes, or behaviors. Such factors have an indirect but powerful influence because of the limitations of society's political, social, economic, and educational systems. See Behavioral Factors, Environmental Factors, and Personal Factors.

Statistical Significance - The strength of a particular relationship between variables. A relationship is said to be statistically significant when it occurs so frequently in the data that the relationship's existence is probably not attributable to chance.

Stratified Random Sample - In experimental research designs, a sample group derived by indiscriminate selection from different subsegments of a pool of eligible participants (e.g., men and women). See Simple Random Sample.

Threats to Internal Validity - Factors other than the intervention itself that researchers must consider when evaluating a program, regardless of the rigor of the evaluation design, because they might account for or influence the outcome. Such threats diminish the likelihood that an observed outcome is attributable to the intervention.

Time-Series Design - A research design that involves an intervention group that is evaluated at least once prior to the intervention and is retested more than once after the intervention. A time-series analysis involves the examination of fluctuations in the rates of a condition over a long period in relation to the rise and fall of a possible causative agent.

Vague Awareness - The stage at which there is a general feeling that a behavior is a local problem that requires attention. At this stage knowledge about the extent of the problem is sparse, there is little motivation to take action to prevent it, and there is a lack of leadership to address it. See Community Readiness.

Validity - The ability of an instrument to measure what it purports to measure.

Variable - A factor or characteristic of an intervention, participant, or context that may influence or be related to the possibility of achieving intermediate- and long-term outcomes.

This glossary is based in part on work performed by Westover Consultants, Silver Spring, MD, and the Pacific Institute for Research and Evaluation, Bethesda, MD, under other contracts with the Center for Substance Abuse Prevention.


  • PubReader
  • Print View
  • Cite this Page

Recent Activity

Your browsing activity is empty.

Activity recording is turned off.

Turn recording back on

See more...