How Safe is Safe Drinking?

A study published recently in the journal Victims and Offenders was undertaken to test if precautionary drinking behaviors can be associated with reduced risk of violent victimization. Some studies have shown that these behaviors (e.g. limiting alcohol intake, eating before or during drinking, and having friends close by) reduce the negative consequences of drinking, but very few have focused on criminal victimization. National College Health Assessment data from 20121 were utilized to examine the association between precautionary drinking behavior and violent victimization (physical assault or verbal threat), controlling for demographic and risky lifestyle factors. Regression analyses found that precautionary drinking behavior reduced the odds of victimization only among men who frequently drink. In this same group being “single” increased risk. Other variables were consistent predictors: drug use, multiple sex partners, mental health disorder, and first year student status. Binge drinking and having a disability were also frequent predictors. Finally, Black women but not men were more likely to be victimized. These results suggest that the risky or protective nature of types of drinking behaviors is gendered and taking precautions is especially important for men who drink frequently.

For the abstract


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