Alcohol-Related Harm to Others in England: A Cross-Sectional Analysis of National Survey Data
To estimate the prevalence, the frequency and the perpetrators of alcohol-related harm to others (AHTO) and identify factors associated with experiencing harm and aggressive harm.
Adults (general population) aged 16 and over.
Percentage of respondents who experienced harm. Socioeconomic and demographic factors associated with the outcomes. Outcomes were (1) experienced harm/did not experience harm and (2) experienced aggressive harm (physically threatened, physically hurt and forced/pressured into something sexual)/did not experience an aggressive harm (no aggressive harm plus no harm at all).
Data to support a response rate calculation were not collected; 96.3% of people surveyed completed the AHTO questions. The weighted sample was 4874; 20.1% (95% CI 18.9 to 21.4, N=980) reported experiencing harm in the previous 12 months and 4.6% (95% CI 4.0 to 5.4, N=225) reported experiencing an aggressive harm. Friends and strangers were the dominant perpetrators. Most harms (74.8%) occurred less than monthly. Factors associated with experiencing harm were: younger age (p<0.001), consuming alcohol harmfully/hazardously (p<0.001), white British (p<0.001 compared to other white groups and Asian groups and p=0.017 compared to black groups), having a disability (p<0.001), being educated (p<0.001 compared to no education) and living in private rented accommodation (p=0.004 compared with owned outright). Being in the family stage of life (defined as having children in the household) had significantly lower odds of harm (p=0.006 compared to being single), as did being retired (p<0.001 compared to being employed). Factors associated with experiencing an aggressive harm were similar.
This exploratory study, using data collected through the Alcohol Toolkit Survey, shows that AHTO affects 20.1% of the population of England. Even apparently minor harms, like being kept awake, can have a negative impact on health, while aggressive harms are clearly of concern. Using a standard methodology to measure harm across studies would be advantageous. Policies that focus on alcohol must take into consideration the impact of alcohol use on those other than the user.