Alcohol’s harm to others: Using qualitative research to complement survey findings

Elizabeth Manton, Sarah MacLean, Anne-Marie Laslett, Robin Room


Manton, E., MacLean, S., Laslett, A., & Room, R. (2014). Alcohol’s harm to others: Using qualitative research to complement survey findings. The International Journal Of Alcohol And Drug Research, 3(2), 143-148. doi:

Aim: The purpose of this study was to identify the potential contribution of qualitative research to future Alcohol’s Harm to Others (AHTO) survey research and some of the potential difficulties that may be encountered when conducting studies of this nature.

Design: Qualitative, in-depth semi-structured telephone interviews.

Setting: Australia.

Participants: Potential participants were those who responded, in the telephone land-line-based Australia-wide AHTO survey in either 2008 or 2011, that a child or children for whom they had responsibility had been harmed “a lot” or “a little” by someone else’s drinking, and who also indicated that they were willing to be recontacted for future research interviews. Ten participants who selected the response “a lot” and 10 who selected “a little” were interviewed.

Measures: Interviews were audio recorded and professionally transcribed. Transcribed interviews were thematically analysed.

Findings: The qualitative study analysis enabled access to detailed stories, clarification of the validity and meanings of survey measures, identification of questions for future surveys, and contextualization of survey findings. The analysis also suggested that samples of people who agree to discuss harm from others’ drinking with a researcher are likely to be skewed in particular ways.

Conclusions: The approach to AHTO research described here incorporates both the persuasive power of whole-population survey research and the nuanced understanding provided through interpretation of in-depth qualitative interviews. It enables the presentation of more comprehensive information about the nature and extent of AHTO.


Alcohol; harm to others; qualitative; children

Full Text:




  • There are currently no refbacks.