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Appears in Collections:Faculty of Health Sciences and Sport Journal Articles
Peer Review Status: Refereed
Title: The impact of spatial and temporal availability of alcohol on its consumption and related harms: A critical review in the context of UK licensing policies: Critical review of availability research
Author(s): Holmes, John
Guo, Yelan
Maheswaran, Ravi
Nicholls, James
Meier, Petra S
Brennan, Alan
Keywords: alcohol consumption
spatial analysis
alcohol outlet density
Issue Date: Sep-2014
Date Deposited: 14-Jan-2022
Citation: Holmes J, Guo Y, Maheswaran R, Nicholls J, Meier PS & Brennan A (2014) The impact of spatial and temporal availability of alcohol on its consumption and related harms: A critical review in the context of UK licensing policies: Critical review of availability research. Drug and Alcohol Review, 33 (5), pp. 515-525.
Abstract: Issues Reviews recommend controlling alcohol availability to limit alcohol-related harm. However, the translation of this evidence into policy processes has proved challenging in some jurisdictions. Approach This paper presents a critical review of empirical spatial and temporal availability research to identify its features and limitations for informing alcohol availability policies. The UK is used as an example jurisdiction. It reviews 138 studies from a 2008 systematic review of empirical availability research and our update of this to January 2014. Data describing study characteristics (settings, measures, design) were extracted and descriptively analysed. Key Findings Important limitations in current evidence were identified: (i) outlet-level temporal availability was only measured in three studies, and there has been little innovation in measurement of spatial availability; (ii) empirical analyses focus on acute harms with few studies of longer-term harms; (iii) outlets are typically classified at aggregated levels with little empirical analysis of variation within outlet categories; (iv) evidence comes from a narrow range of countries; and (v) availability away from home, online availability and interactions between availability, price and place are all relatively unexamined. Implications Greater innovation in study and measure design and enhanced data quality are required. Greater engagement between researchers and policy actors when developing studies would facilitate this. Conclusions Research and data innovations are needed to address a series of methodological gaps and limitations in the alcohol availability evidence base, advance this research area and enable findings to be translated effectively into policy processes.
DOI Link: 10.1111/dar.12191
Rights: © 2014 The Authors. Drug and Alcohol Review published by Wiley Publishing Asia Pty Ltd on behalf of Australasian Professional Society on Alcohol and other Drugs. This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (, which permits use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
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