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J Stud Alcohol Drugs. 2019 May;80(3):273-281.

Alcohol's Secondhand Harms in the United States: New Data on Prevalence and Risk Factors.

Author information

1
Alcohol Research Group, Public Health Institute, Emeryville, California.
2
Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Science, University of North Dakota, School of Medicine & Health Sciences, Grand Forks, North Dakota.

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

This study examined a range of indicators of alcohol's harm to others (AHTO) among U.S. adults and assessed sociodemographic and alcohol-related risk factors for AHTO.

METHOD:

The data came from 8,750 adult men and women in two parallel 2015 U.S. national surveys conducted in English and Spanish. Both surveys used computer-assisted telephone interviews and two-stage, stratified, list-assisted, random samples of adults ages 18 and older.

RESULTS:

One in five adults experienced at least one of ten 12-month harms because of someone else's drinking. The prevalence of specific harm types and characteristics differed by gender. Women were more likely to report harm due to drinking by a spouse/partner or family member, whereas men were more likely to report harm due to a stranger's drinking. Being female also predicted family/financial harms. Younger age increased risk for all AHTO types, except physical aggression. Being of Black/other ethnicity, being separated/widowed/divorced, and having a college education without a degree each predicted physical aggression harm. The harmed individual's own heavy drinking and having a heavy drinker in the household increased risk for all AHTO types. The risk for physical aggression due to someone else's drinking was particularly elevated for heavy drinking women.

CONCLUSIONS:

Secondhand effects of alcohol in the United States are substantial and affected by sociodemographics, the harmed individual's own drinking, and the presence of a heavy drinker in the household. Broad-based and targeted public health measures that consider AHTO risk factors are needed to reduce alcohol's secondhand harms.

PMID:
31250790
PMCID:
PMC6614929
[Available on 2020-05-01]

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