Rhew IC, Kosterman R, Duncan GE, Mair C.
The purpose of this study was to examine whether neighborhood socioeconomic deprivation and alcohol outlet density are associated with hazardous drinking using a co-twin design to control for confounding because of genetic and shared environmental factors.
The study sample included cross-sectional data from 1,996 same-sex adult twin pairs (mean age = 36.6; 65.9% female) from the Washington State Twin Registry. The Singh Index was used to characterize neighborhood social deprivation for participants’ census tract of residence. Geocoded alcohol outlet data were used to create a measure of census tract alcohol outlet density. The three-item Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Test-Consumption scale (AUDIT-C) was used to measure the level of hazardous drinking. Poisson mixed-effects models were used to examine associations between neighborhood factors and AUDIT-C score. Covariates included household income, level of education completed, non-White race, sex, and rurality of residence.
Accounting for covariates, there was a statistically significant within-pair association between neighborhood socioeconomic deprivation and a higher level of hazardous drinking. There was no within-pair association between the density of alcohol outlets and hazardous drinking. Associations did not differ by zygosity.
The socioeconomic conditions of the neighborhood may play an important role in the development of alcohol misuse even after accounting for genetic and shared environmental influences. Twin designs may be a promising complementary approach to investigating the role of neighborhood characteristics on alcohol and substance use. Further research is needed to better understand the ways through which and for whom neighborhood characteristics may influence hazardous drinking.
Examination of Cross-Sectional Associations of Neighborhood Deprivation and Alcohol Outlet Density With Hazardous Drinking Using a Twin Design. J Stud Alcohol Drugs. 2018 Jan;79(1):68-73.