Alcohol's harm to others

Research has long studied the impacts of alcohol on individual drinkers. Alcohol’s Harm to Others (HTO), shifts the focus to how those around drinkers are adversely affected by the drinker, examples of others affected by drinkers include:

  • partners
  • children
  • other relatives
  • friends
  • co-workers
  • the public

The specific harms being investigated include:

  • foetal alcohol syndrome
  • child abuse and neglect
  • assaults
  • traffic mortality from drink drivers and
  • reduced health-related quality of life.

To study these harms in Australia, we developed a HTO survey [PDF 0.8MB] in 2008. This seminal study was the first to demonstrate the broad range and magnitude of harms experienced by Australians because of someone else’s drinking. Our findings indicated that 7 in 10 Australians had been adversely affected by others’ drinking in the past year, with a quarter of Australians negatively affected by the drinking of someone they knew (i.e. a relative, friend or co-worker), and 9 per cent affected substantially by the drinking of families and friends.

HTO research has expanded with the support of NHMRC which funded a data archive and analyses of these national studies and Australian and New Zealand data in 2015.

Our study in HTO has garnered interest on an international scale, with research centres in the Americas and Europe modelling their studies on ours. Our HTO strand of work amalgamated with the Gender, Alcohol and Culture: an International Study (GenACIS) to become the GENAHTO project. The GENAHTO archive at CAPR now incorporates survey data from 27 countries.

Research Team:

  • Robin Room
  • Anne-Marie Laslett
  • Sandra Kuntsche
  • Sarah Callinan
  • Oliver Stanesby
  • Jason Jiang