Home > Harm from the drinking of people you know: a range of effects from different relationships.

Laslett, Anne-Marie and Anderson-Luxford, Dan and Willoughby, Bree and Room, Robin and Doran, Chris and Egerton-Warburton, Diana and Jenkinson, Rebecca and Smit, Koen and Jiang, Heng (2024) Harm from the drinking of people you know: a range of effects from different relationships. Addiction, 119, (8), pp. 1460-1467. https://doi.org/10.1111/add.16509.

External website: https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/add.16...

AIMS To describe the range of effects experienced due to the drinking of people respondents know and analyze risk and protective factors for harm from the drinking of partners and household members, other relatives and friends and co-workers.

DESIGN, SETTING AND PARTICIPANTS Surveys of 2574 participants' experiences were obtained from two samples: 1000 people responded to random digitally dialled Australian mobile calls and 1574 participants responded from the Life in Australia panel survey.

MEASUREMENTS Respondents were asked whether they had been negatively affected in the previous 12 months by the drinking of persons they knew who were 'a heavy drinker or drank a lot sometimes' and the nature of these harms. Weighted logistic regressions were used to analyze differences in rates of key negative outcomes from known others' drinking by gender, age and socio-economic status.

FINDINGS Almost two thirds [60.2%; 95% confidence interval (CI) = 57.7%-62.7%] of participants reported having heavy drinkers in their lives and 21.8% (95% CI = 19.8%-23.9%) reported being negatively affected by the drinking of people they knew well in some way. Participants reported a gamut of effects, including, most commonly, adverse social effects: having to transport relatives and friends who had been drinking, role failure and faults, being emotionally hurt or neglected, serious arguments, family problems, having to care for drinkers and verbal abuse. Less commonly, respondents reported physical or sexual harm, property damage, financial stress and threats from others' drinking. Women (odds ratio = 1.49; 95% CI = 1.13-1.95), younger people, rural, Australian-born (vs. respondents born overseas in non-English speaking countries) and more frequent drinkers were more likely to report harm from a drinker they knew than their counterparts after adjusting for other variables in the model.

CONCLUSIONS Australians appear to be commonly adversely affected by the drinking of people they know. Harms from known drinkers are more likely to be experienced by women than men, particularly from the people they live with and other relatives.

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