Alcohol abuse and crime: A fixed-effects regression analysis

Christchurch School of Medicine, New Zealand.
Addiction (Impact Factor: 4.74). 11/2000; 95(10):1525-36. DOI: 10.1046/j.1360-0443.2000.951015257.x
Source: PubMed


To examine linkages between patterns of alcohol abuse and crime in a New Zealand birth cohort studied to the age of 21 taking into account confounding factors through the use of fixed-effects regression methods.
Over the period from age 15-21 years assessments were made of: (a) involvement in violent and property crime; and (b) extent (if any) of alcohol abuse/dependence symptoms. In addition, information was gathered on a number of social and contextual factors that were likely to be related to alcohol abuse or crime.
Increasing alcohol abuse was associated with clear and significant (p < 0.0001) increases in rates of both violent and property crime. Control for observed and non-observed confounding through the use of fixed-effects regression models indicated that much of this association was attributable to the effects of confounding factors that were associated with both alcohol abuse and crime. None the less, even after such control alcohol abuse remained significantly related to both violent and property offending.
The findings suggest the presence of a possible causal association between alcohol abuse and juvenile offending that is evident after control for both observed and non observed sources of confounding.

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    • "In one of the earliest of these studies, Newcomb and McGee (1989) found that alcohol use was related to later antisocial behavior among high school students and that antisocial behavior was not related to later alcohol use. Longitudinal data allows researchers to control for selection and endogeneity more so than cross-sectional data and these models do suggest a direct, positive relationship (Boden et al., 2013; Fergusson & Horwood, 2000; Hill et al., 2000; Horney, Osgood, & Marshall, 1995; Laub & Sampson, 2003; Piquero, Brame, Mazerolle, & Haapanen, 2002; Popovici et al., 2012). Thus, the more recent literature provides more evidence of a causal relationship than in years past. "
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    • "Young people may have a 'deviant lifestyle' in which they are exposed to a number of risk factors and life processes that encourage the heavy use of alcohol and independently increase the risk of involvement in crime (Fergusson & Horwood, 2000). Following these considerations, several quantitative studies have explored the link between alcohol use and criminal behaviour whilst controlling for potential confounding factors (Bachman & Peralta, 2002; Fergusson & Horwood, 2000), such as family social background, individual characteristics and peer affiliations (Fergusson, Lynskey & Horwood, 1996). "
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