We examined whether distance from home to the nearest bar, i.e. alcohol outlet permitting consumption on the premises, is associated with risky alcohol behaviours.
Cross-sectional and longitudinal study.
Setting and Participants
The cross-sectional data consisted of 78 858 and the longitudinal data of 54 778 Finnish Public Sector Study participants in between 2000 and 2009 [mean follow-up 6.8 years (SD=2.0)].
Distances from home to the nearest bar were calculated using Global Positioning System-coordinates. The outcome variables were heavy alcohol use (drinking above the weekly guidelines) and extreme drinking occasions (passing out due to alcohol use). We used binomial logistic regression in cross-sectional analyses and in longitudinal mixed effects (between-individual) analyses. Conditional logistic regression was used in longitudinal fixed effects (within-individual) analyses.
Cross-sectionally, the likelihood of an extreme drinking occasion and heavy use was higher among those who resided <1 vs. ≥1 km from a bar. Longitudinally, between individuals, a decrease from >1 km to ≤1 km in distance was weakly associated with an extreme drinking occasion (1.18, 95% CI 0.98–1.41), and heavy use (1.12, 95% CI 0.97–1.29). Within-individual, the odds ratio for becoming a heavy user was 1.17 (95% CI, 1.02–1.34), per 1 km decrease in log-transformed continuous distance, the corresponding odds ratio for an extreme drinking occasion was 1.03 (95% CI, 0.89–1.18).
Moving place of residence close to or far from a bar appears to be associated with a small corresponding increase or decrease in risky alcohol behaviour.