Home > Causal mechanisms proposed for the alcohol harm paradox-a systematic review.

Boyd, Jennifer and Sexton, Olivia and Angus, Colin and Meier, Petra and Purshouse, Robin C and Holmes, John (2022) Causal mechanisms proposed for the alcohol harm paradox-a systematic review. Addiction, 117, (1), pp. 33-56. doi: 10.1111/add.15567.

External website: https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/add.15...

BACKGROUND AND AIMS: The alcohol harm paradox (AHP) posits that disadvantaged groups suffer from higher rates of alcohol-related harm compared with advantaged groups, despite reporting similar or lower levels of consumption on average. The causes of this relationship remain unclear. This study aimed to identify explanations proposed for the AHP. Secondary aims were to review the existing evidence for those explanations and investigate whether authors linked explanations to one another.

RESULTS: Seventy-nine papers met the inclusion criteria and initial coding revealed that these papers contained 41 distinct explanations for the AHP. Following inductive thematic analysis, these explanations were grouped into 16 themes within six broad domains: individual, life-style, contextual, disadvantage, upstream and artefactual. Explanations related to risk behaviours, which fitted within the life-style domain, were the most frequently proposed (n = 51) and analysed (n = 21).

CONCLUSIONS: While there are many potential explanations for the alcohol harm paradox, most research focuses on risk behaviours while other explanations lack empirical testing.

Item Type
Publication Type
International, Open Access, Review, Article
Drug Type
Intervention Type
Harm reduction, Policy
Identification #
doi: 10.1111/add.15567
Page Range
pp. 33-56

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