Alcohol environment, perceived safety, and exposure to alcohol, tobacco, and other drugs in early adolescence

Adam J. Milam, C. Debra Furr-Holden, Catherine P. Bradshaw, Daniel W. Webster, Michele C. Cooley-Strickland, Philip J. Leaf

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This study examined the association between the count of alcohol outlets around children's homes and opportunities to use alcohol, tobacco, and other drugs (ATOD) during preadolescence. Data were collected in 2007 from 394 Baltimore City children aged 8-13 years (86% African American). Participants' residential address and alcohol outlet data were geocoded with quarter mile (i.e., walking distance) buffers placed around each participant's home to determine the number of outlets within walking distance. The unadjusted logistic regression models revealed that each unit increase in the number of alcohol outlets was associated with a 14% increase in the likelihood of children seeing people selling drugs (odds ratio [OR] = 1.14, p = .04) and a 15% increase in the likelihood of seeing people smoking marijuana (OR = 1.15, p < .01). After adjusting for neighborhood physical disorder, the relationship between alcohol outlets and seeing people selling drugs and seeing people smoking marijuana was fully attenuated. These results suggest that alcohol outlets are one aspect of the larger environmental context that is related to ATOD exposure in children. Future studies should examine the complex relationship between neighborhood physical disorder and the presence of alcohol outlets.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)867-883
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of Community Psychology
Issue number7
StatePublished - Sep 2013

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology


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