The Influence of Alcohol Consumption on Fighting, Shoplifting and Vandalism in Young Adults

Ieuan Evans*, Jon E Heron*, Joseph Murray*, Matt Hickman*, Gemma L Hammerton*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

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Experimental studies support the conventional belief that people behave more aggressively whilst under the influence of alcohol. To examine how these experimental findings manifest in real life situations, this study uses a method for estimating evidence for causality with observational data—‘situational decomposition’ to examine the association between alcohol consumption and crime in young adults from the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children. Self-report questionnaires were completed at age 24 years to assess typical alcohol consumption and frequency, participation in fighting, shoplifting and vandalism in the previous year, and whether these crimes were committed under the influence of alcohol. Situational decomposition compares the strength of two associations, (1) the total association between alcohol consumption and crime (sober or intoxicated) versus (2) the association between alcohol consumption and crime committed while sober. There was an association between typical alcohol consumption and total crime for fighting [OR (95% CI): 1.47 (1.29, 1.67)], shoplifting [OR (95% CI): 1.25 (1.12, 1.40)], and vandalism [OR (95% CI): 1.33 (1.12, 1.57)]. The associations for both fighting and shoplifting had a small causal component (with the association for sober crime slightly smaller than the association for total crime). However, the association for vandalism had a larger causal component.
Original languageEnglish
Article number3509
Number of pages14
JournalInternational Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
Volume(2021) 18
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 28 Mar 2021

Structured keywords



  • alcohol
  • crime
  • situational decomposition

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