The research proposed in this component will explicate some large scale social and economic dynamics that affect geographic distributions of alcohol outlets, expose populations to risks associated with those outlets, and increase rates of alcohol problems. We will measure the spatial and temporal scale of outlet effects to estimate the direct, indirect and total impacts of physical availability on problems. Theoretical and empirical work suggests that the social and economic forces that affect outlet distributions involve spatial interactions between people and places that take place over multiple years. Studies of problems related to alcohol outlets suggest that similar spatial and temporal effects underiie outlet effects. If so, previous studies that focused on single years and small areas may have underestimated the impacts of outlet densities on problems. Current empirical work also indicates that outlets are over-concentrated in low income minority neighborhoods, in populations which are known to consume less alcohol. This suggests spatial displacement in market response to demand as outlets open in retail areas near to, but not in, high income neighborhoods with populations which consume more alcohol. If so, residents of low income neighborhoods may bear excess social costs related to outlets in the form of greater problems. The proposed research will assess the temporal and spatial impacts of the demand for alcohol upon outlet growth, MVCs, assaults, IPV and CAN from through 2016.
The Specific Aims of the project are to: (1) Assess the growth of outlet densities, by type, in response to known population surrogates for alcohol demand over space and time, (2) Assess the growth of four problems related to alcohol outlets in response to surrogates for alcohol demand and outlet densities (MVCs, assaults, IPV, and CAN) over space and time, and (3) Calculate direct, indirect and total space-time effects from these models. Statistical models and methods used in this component will also: (4) Support archival evaluations of community-based environmental prevention programs (Component #2) and assist in the analysis of outcomes related to maladaptive parenting (CAN, Component #4). The short term goals of the project are to provide estimates of the size and significance of space-time lags in statistical assessments of effects related to outlet densities for four alcohol related problems. The long term goal is to develop a sense of scale for these effects in order to grasp their full public health impacts.

Public Health Relevance

This research component will examine relationships between alcohol outlets, alcohol related motor vehicle crashes, assaults, intimate partner violence and child abuse and neglect across states and cities in the US. The project will measure the direct impacts of outlet densities on these problems, the indirect effects outlets have on these problems in nearby areas, and estimate total impacts related to alcohol effects. If, as suggested by this application, outlet effects are underestimated using standard analysis procedures, the public health impacts of over-concentrations of outlets on problems could be much greater than expected.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA)
Comprehensive Center (P60)
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Special Emphasis Panel (ZAA1-GG (50))
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Pacific Institute for Research and Evaluation
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Morrison, Christopher (2015) Exposure to alcohol outlets in rural towns. Alcohol Clin Exp Res 39:73-8
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