Alcohol’s harm to others: Quantifying a little or a lot of harm Academic Article uri icon


  • Callinan, S. (2014). Alcohol’s harm to others: Quantifying a little or a lot of harm. The International Journal Of Alcohol And Drug Research, 3(2), 127-133. doi: Harm to others from alcohol consumption has become a World Health Organization research priority and the subject of current or planned research in over 20 countries. The aim of the current study is to compare the efficacy of two measures commonly used to ascertain the subjective level of harm experienced by respondents that is attributable to the drinking of others.Design: A cross-sectional survey.Setting: Australian respondents were recruited using computer-assisted telephone interviewing.Participants: 448 adult respondents were asked about their experience of harm attributable to the alcohol consumption of others.Measures: Respondents were asked whether they were harmed a little or a lot by the drinking of both strangers and heavy drinkers known to them, and were asked to rate this level of harm from 1 to 10. They were also asked questions about the types of harm they experienced.Findings: Overall, respondents were fairly consistent in their responses to these two measures, with the mean score of a little or a lot of harm similar for both stranger and known drinker harms. Prediction of the two types of scores was similar, based on the respondents’ experience of harms; however, tangible stranger harm did not predict being harmed a lot.Conclusions: The 1 to 10 score is better predicted by harms experienced; however, this may be due to a lack of variance in the dichotomous question. Equivalence scores are outlined and discussed.

publication date

  • 2014