Alcohol-related violence is an important social and public health problem, and a substantial proportion of alcohol-related violence and injury occurs in licensed premises. Analyses of observations of aggression in licensed premises will allow us to better understand the alcohol-aggression relationship and identify specific aspects of barroom aggression for targeting prevention programs such as staff training, regulatory policies and enforcement strategies. The proposed research will use secondary data analyses of a unique data set based on observations of bar violence to: (1) Categorize apparent motives for aggression;assess the relationship of motives with (a) the aggressor's gender, age, level of intoxication;(b) whether patron/staff, (c) severity of aggression;(d) environmental factors. (2) Assess the critical role of third parties in barroom aggression, including (a) the extent of involvement of aggressive and nonaggressive third parties;(b) the apparent motives of third parties;(c) the relationship of third party behavior with the gender composition and intoxication level of initial participants, environmental factors and maximum severity of aggression in the incident. (3) Develop a general model of social overture-related aggression by differentiating intentional aggression done in the guise of a social overture from aggression that develops from miscues and mistakes in the social overture process, including separate and comparative analyses of aggression related to sexual and horseplay overtures to (a) examine the relationship of initial overtures with characteristics and intoxication level of the person making the overture and with environmental factors;(b) develop a taxonomy of responses by targets of social overtures and assess the relationship of the target's response with type of initial overture;apparent motives, gender, age and intoxication of target;environmental factors;and maximum severity of aggression in the incident;(c) explore the role of third parties including the relationship of type of third party with whether incident involved sexual or horseplay aggression, type of initial overture and environmental factors. (4) Assess the extent that incidents can be linked directly to """"""""hotspots"""""""" in the bar (i.e., clustering of incidents in particular locations), for example, areas that are crowded or poorly monitored by staff or are the location for competitive activities such as pool playing;Assess the relationship between different hotspots and (a) whether aggression was provoked;(b) gender composition, age and intoxication of participants in incident;(c) environmental characteristics;and (d) severity of aggression. The data include variables at four levels: (1) 118 bars/clubs;(2) 1334 nights of observation;(3) 1058 incidents of aggression;(4) 2700 patrons and 806 staff involved in aggressive incidents. Multi-level analyses will be used to allow for relationships between variables to be examined while controlling for higher level relationships.

Public Health Relevance

Findings from this research will be applicable to a variety of practical applications, such as: (1) enhancing staff training programs in preventing aggression by incorporating knowledge related to apparent motives and how these motives relate to patron and environmental characteristics, managing the impact of third parties, and the relationship between social overtures and aggression;(2) educational programs for adolescents and young adults that inform them about making and responding to social overtures in ways that do not escalate to violence;(3) informational materials for bar owners on how to design and manage premises in ways that reduce risks related to hotspots and intoxication of patrons;(4) developing regulatory and enforcement approaches to eliminate or minimize aggression related to poorly-trained staff or environmental hotspots. This research will also provide directions for future controlled experimental research by identifying apparent motives that influence naturally-occurring aggression and developing a model and taxonomy for social overture-related aggression that applies to both sexual and horseplay overtures.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA)
Research Project (R01)
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Community Influences on Health Behavior (CIHB)
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Freeman, Robert
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Centre for Addiction and Mental Health
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