Measurement and Monitoring

This program of work broadly aims to monitor and analyse quantitative trends in alcohol consumption and harm. We use a range of data sources to examine trends and patterns in consumption, purchasing and harm as well as contexts of consumption and predictors of harmful drinking.

All of this work is dependent on valid and reliable measurement of alcohol consumption, harms and all other related variables. As such we also focus on the accurate measurement of alcohol related variables.

Research Team:

Sarah Callinan, Yvette Mojica-Perez, Geoffrey Leggatt, Alex Torney, Dan Anderson-Luxford, Bree Willoughby, Megan Cook

Projects within this area:

High risk drinking, context, drink choice and price: an international study

This study will investigate how price influences beverage choice in high-risk drinkers. With already collected data from countries with similar policy environments, but differing tax structures, we compare amounts and patterns of use of different beverage types that are the cheapest alcohol in each country, and how these interplay with the distribution of high risk drinking occasions on and off licensed premises. These cross-national analyses will then inform analysis of price, high risk drinking and harms in Australia. The project will provide key points of evidence to policy makers aiming to most effectively target high risk drinking in Australia.

Funder: Australian Research Council DP200100496

La Trobe Researchers: Sarah Callinan, Alex Torney, Robin Room

Accurate measurement of alcohol consumption and harms

Quantitative research on alcohol consumption and harms are dependent on the reliability and validity of the measurement of these variables. Drawing on a range of the data sources such as the National Drug Strategy Household Survey, The International Alcohol Control Study, Gender Alcohol and Culture: an International Study and Household Income and Labour Dynamics in Australia this stream of work aims to assess how to best measure alcohol related variables. Current focus is on measures of consumption such as graduated frequency questions and the Alcohol Used Disorders Identification Test.

La Trobe Researchers: Sarah Callinan, Yvette Mojica-Perez

COVID-19 and alcohol consumption in Australia

The COVID-19 pandemic disrupted the everyday lives of people around the world. This study aims to examine how the pandemic and associated lockdowns changed the consumption of Australians. There is a strong focus in this study on the demographic groups that increased or decreased consumption during the pandemic and on whether we can expect those changes to outlast the pandemic.

La Trobe Researchers: Sarah Callinan, Yvette Mojica-Perez, Emmanuel Kuntsche, Robin Room, Megan Cook, Rob Dwyer, Sarah MacLean

Online alcohol delivery services: an exploratory study

Shopping online is increasing in popularity for a range of products and alcohol is no exception. Online shopping for alcohol comes in a variety of broad categories: wine clubs and similar regular deliveries, grocery-style purchasing from big chains like Dan Murphy’s and fast-turnaround delivery from new players like Tipple and Jimmy Brings, where delivery occurs rapidly after the order is placed. Little is known about who takes advantage of these services. This project will recruit people who have purchased alcohol online in the past month using Facebook advertising and ask them to fill out a web survey about their online alcohol purchasing habits.  We’ve asked respondents will also be asked about their alcohol consumption, their motives for purchasing online and to detail the context of the last couple of times they purchased alcohol online with a focus on fast deliveries.

Funder: The Foundation for Alcohol Research and Education

Researchers: Sarah CallinanYvette Mojica Perez, Robin Room

Attitude towards non-drinkers in Australia and the relationship to problematic alcohol use

With more and more Australians choosing not to drink, Christopher’s PhD is the first study of its kind to examine attitudes towards non-drinkers in an Australian population. The studies which form his PhD aim to examine and define drinker’s attitudes towards non-drinkers in Australia, and create and validate a new measure of these attitudes in a large sample. He will also examine how these attitudes may relate to problematic alcohol consumption. As the negative appraisal of non-drinkers is suggested as a barrier to reducing alcohol consumption, it is proposed that an understanding of these attitudes may allow the development of health promotion strategies that aim to create a more supportive space for moderate drinking in our community.

Funder: LTU PhD Scholarship

La Trobe Researchers: Christopher Cheers, supervised by Sarah CallinanAmy Pennay

Alcohol consumption and the role of interpersonal and household influences within Australian households

An individual’s alcohol consumption is shaped by many factors. In particular, the drinking habits of others we are close to can have a large effect on our perceptions and ideas regarding alcohol. Given this, Geoffrey’s PhD project aims to identify and describe the influences within relationships and households contributing to changes in alcohol consumption. The role of relationship and household factors and events will be assessed to evaluate, not only the effect they have on an individual’s alcohol consumption, but also how they interact with the influence that is exerted by the alcohol consumption of partners or family.

Funder: ARC DECRA - DE180100016

La Trobe Researchers: Geoffrey Leggat, supervised by Sarah Callinan, Michael Livingston & Sandra Kuntsche

The role of cost and context on alcohol consumption in Australia: an international comparison study

The relationship between population levels of drinking and alcohol related harm is already well-established. However, recent trends in Australia have identified diverging patterns whereby consumptions levels are decreasing while alcohol related harms are on the rise. While no reason has been isolated to explain this change, it has occurred alongside the unprecedented growth of alcohol sales outlets. Given this, Alex’s PhD will explore the ways in which the cost and context of alcohol consumption mediate harmful drinking. International comparisons of culturally similar countries will allow for the potential identification of effective policy strategies to aid in the reduction of alcohol related harms.

Funder: ARC Discovery: DP200100496

Researchers: Alexandra Torney, supervised by Sarah Callinan

Low risk drinkers: who are they and what influences their drinking patterns?

From a cultural-political standpoint, low-risk drinking and abstinence have been offered up as national aspirations at different points in Australia’s history. However, in more recent times, greater emphasis has been placed on low-risk drinking. Despite this, adult low-risk drinkers have been largely overlooked in Australian alcohol survey research. Janette’s PhD project aims to investigate the factors associated with low-risk drinking and identify strategies and approaches low-risk drinkers use to manage their consumption levels. A key focus of this project is to better understand the role of alcohol in the lives of low-risk drinkers.

Funder: LTU PhD Scholarship

La Trobe Researchers: Janette Mugavin, supervised by Robin Room, Sarah MacLean & Sarah Callinan