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Lois Verbrugge, Disability Experience & Measurement

The built environment and alcohol consumption in urban neighborhoods

Archived Abstract of Former PSC Researcher

Bernstein, K.T., Sandro Galea, J. Ahern, M. Tracy, and D. Vlahov. 2007. "The built environment and alcohol consumption in urban neighborhoods." Drug and Alcohol Dependence, 91(2-3): 244-252.

Objectives

To examine the relations between characteristics of the neighborhood built environment and recent alcohol use. Methods

We recruited participants through a random digit dial telephone survey of New York City (NYC) residents. Alcohol consumption was assessed using a structured interview. All respondents were assigned to neighborhood of residence. Data on the internal and external built environment in 59 NYC neighborhoods were collected from archival sources. Multilevel models were used to assess the adjusted relations between features of the built environment and alcohol use. Results

Of the 1355 respondents, 40% reported any alcohol consumption in the past 30 days, and 3% reported more than five drinks in one sitting (heavy drinking) in the past 30 days. Few characteristics of the built environment were associated with any alcohol use in the past 30 days. However, several features of the internal and external built environment were associated with recent heavy drinking. After adjustment, persons living in neighborhoods characterized by poorer features of the built environment were up to 150% more likely to report heavy drinking in the last 30 days compared to persons living in neighborhoods characterized by a better built environment. Conclusions

Quality of the neighborhood built environment may be associated with heavy alcohol consumption in urban populations, independent of individual characteristics. The role of the residential environment as a determinant of alcohol abuse warrants further examination.

DOI:10.1016/j.drugalcdep.2007.06.006 (Full Text)

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