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

49 Downloads (Pure)


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

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Funding: The work was undertaken with the support of the Medical Research Council (MRC) and Alcohol Research UK (grant number: MR/L022206/1). The authors also acknowledge support from The Centre for the Development and Evaluation of Complex Interventions for Public Health Improvement (DECIPHer), a UKCRC Public Health Research Centre of Excellence (joint funding (grant number: MR/KO232331/1) from the British Heart Foundation, Cancer Research UK, Economic and Social Research Council, Medical Research Council, the Welsh Government and the Wellcome Trust, under the auspices of the UK Clinical Research Collaboration) and the NIHR School of Public Health Research. G.H. is supported by a Sir Henry Wellcome Postdoctoral Fellowship (grant number: 209138/Z/17/Z). The UK Medical Research Council and Wellcome Trust (grant number: 217065/Z/19/Z) and the University of Bristol provide core support for ALSPAC. This publication is the work of the authors and J.H. and G.H. will serve as guarantors for the contents of this paper. A comprehensive list of grants funding is available on the ALSPAC website (http: //

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland.

Structured keywords



  • alcohol
  • crime
  • situational decomposition


Dive into the research topics of 'The Influence of Alcohol Consumption on Fighting, Shoplifting and Vandalism in Young Adults'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this