Association Between Alcohol Use and Violence

December 07 2011


White Ribbon day was held again, this 25 November. Pleased to see the Chief Executive of the Families Commission Paul Curry out there with others at the Wellington Railway Station handing out White Ribbons.

Gives pause for thought about alcohol and its role.

A large Canadian research project reported in Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research in 2006 confirmed a strong association between alcohol use and violence.

Researchers used Statistics Canada data to gather Ontario-specific information on per capita total alcohol consumption - breaking out consumption of beer, spirits and wine separately - as well as deaths due to homicide for individuals aged 15 years and older for the years of 1968 through to 1991.

Effects were for spirits, beer and total alcohol - but not wine – consumption. Different alcoholic beverages may be more or less likely to be associated with different violence-associated risk behaviours the researchers concluded.

Male drinking patterns (more often, more heavily, and consume more beer and spirits than females in settings such as bars) made the finding that alcohol's violent effects seemed more pronounced among males than female not surprising.

There was a strong relationship between alcohol consumption and homicide rates, particularly among males who consume beer and spirits.

Results also showed that as AA membership increased, homicide levels decreased. (AA membership data was secured from the AA General Service Board Central Office in New York, which surveyed AA groups every three years for the same time period.)

Mann, R. E., Zalcman, R. F., Smart, R. G., Rush, B. R., & Suurvali, H. (2006).Alcohol consumption, alcoholics anonymous membership, and homicide mortality rates in Ontario 1968 to 1991Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research, 30(10), 1743-1751.



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