Access to alcohol and binge drinking among vocational college students: A multilevel study in a tourist destination province of Thailand
A key issue in alcohol-related harm reduction is the impact of commercial and social availability on alcohol-related problems and harm among young people. The increasing density of alcohol outlets has been shown to be associated with harmful youth drinking behavior, although studies have produced mixed results, underlying the complexity of the situation.
Aims: The present study was conducted to assess the relationship between density of alcohol outlets and drinking behaviors among vocational college students.
Methods: A cross-sectional school-based survey was conducted among full-time students studying in vocational colleges in Phuket, Thailand. Multilevel regression models were used to assess the relationship between alcohol-outlet density and current and binge drinking, controlling for student and school characteristics.
Results: A total of 3,363 students completed the self-reported questionnaire (response rate 66.7%). A significant association was found between alcohol-outlet density and binge drinking but not current drinking. Both current and binge drinking were associated with a positive attitude toward drinking, perception of peer and family drinking norms, and social availability of alcohol. For every increase in 10 on-premise alcohol outlets per square kilometer the risk of binge drinking increased by an average of 5%. Empirical evidence regarding this relationship is important to support law and policy movements towards further restriction of alcohol outlets and zoning of entertainment venues.
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