The Association of Alcohol Outlet Density With Illegal Underage Adolescent Purchasing of Alcohol Academic Article uri icon


  • Although previous studies have suggested that greater community densities of alcohol sales outlets are associated with greater alcohol use and problems, the mechanisms are unclear. The present study examined whether density was associated with increased purchasing of alcohol by adolescents younger than the legal purchase age of 18 in Australia.The number of alcohol outlets per 10,000 population was identified within geographic regions in Victoria, Australia. A state-representative student survey (N = 10,143) identified adolescent reports of purchasing alcohol, and multilevel modeling was then used to predict the effects for different densities of outlet types (packaged, club, on-premise, general, and overall).Each extra sales outlet per 10,000 population was associated with a significant increase in the risk of underage adolescent purchasing. The strongest effect was for club density (odds ratio = 1.22) and packaged (takeaway) outlet density (odds ratio = 1.12). Males, older children, smokers, and those with substance-using friends were more likely to purchase alcohol.One mechanism by which alcohol sales outlet density may influence population rates of alcohol use and related problems is through increasing the illegal underage purchasing of alcohol.

publication date

  • 2015