Effects of Extensions and Restrictions in Alcohol Trading Hours on the Incidence of Assault and Unintentional Injury: Systematic Review
This study undertook a systematic review to assess the effects of extensions and restrictions in trading hours of on- and off-license alcohol outlets. The review included new primary studies that help address limitations in previous reviews.
The study systematically searched electronic databases and reference lists, up to December 2018, and contacted the authors of eligible studies. Studies were eligible if (a) the design was randomized, or nonrandomized with at least one control site/series; (b) the intervention evaluated extensions or restrictions in trading hours at on- or off-license premises; and (c) the outcome measures were assault, unintentional injury, traffic crash, driving under the influence offenses, or hospitalization. Two reviewers independently extracted data using a standard form that included study quality indicators.
After screening 3,857 records, 22 studies were selected for the systematic review, all of which used an interrupted time series design. In the included studies, extension of trading hours concerned on-license premises only, whereas restriction concerned both on- and off-license premises. Extending trading hours at on-license premises was typically followed by increases in the incidence of assault, unintentional injury, or driving under the influence offenses. Conversely, restricting trading hours at on- and off-license premises was typically followed by decreases in the incidence of assault and hospitalization.
On balance, this review augments existing evidence that harm typically increases after extensions in on-license alcohol trading hours. It provides new evidence that alcohol-related harm decreases when on- and off-license trading hours are restricted.