Exposure to alcohol outlets, alcohol access, and alcohol consumption among adolescents

Christopher N. Morrison, Hilary F. Byrnes, Brenda A. Miller, Sarah E. Wiehe, William R. Ponicki, Douglas J. Wiebe

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Adolescents who live near more alcohol outlets tend to consume more alcohol, despite laws prohibiting alcohol purchases for people aged <21 years. We examined relationships between adolescents’ exposure to alcohol outlets, the sources through which they access alcohol, and their alcohol consumption. Methods: Participants for this longitudinal study (n = 168) were aged 15–18 years and were from 10 cities in the San Francisco Bay Area. We collected survey data to measure participant characteristics, followed by 1 month of GPS tracking to measure exposure to alcohol outlets (separated into exposures near home and away from home for bars, restaurants, and off-premise outlets). A follow-up survey approximately 1 year later measured alcohol access (through outlets, family members, peers aged <21 years, peers aged ≥21 years) and alcohol consumption (e.g. count of drinking days in last 30). Generalized structural equation models related exposure to alcohol outlets, alcohol access, and alcohol consumption. Results: Exposure to bars and off-premise outlets near home was positively associated with accessing alcohol from peers aged <21, and in turn, accessing alcohol from peers aged <21 was positively associated with alcohol consumption. There was no direct association between exposure to alcohol outlets near home or away from home and alcohol consumption. Conclusions: Interventions that reduce adolescents’ access through peers aged <21 may reduce adolescents’ alcohol consumption.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number107622
JournalDrug and Alcohol Dependence
StatePublished - Dec 1 2019


  • Access
  • Adolescent
  • Alcohol
  • Neighborhood
  • Outlet
  • Structural equation model
  • Teen

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Toxicology
  • Pharmacology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Pharmacology (medical)

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