A Multi-Country Study of Harms to Children Because of Others’ Drinking
This study aims to ascertain and compare the prevalence and correlates of alcohol-related harms to children cross-nationally.
National and regional sample surveys of randomly selected households included 7,848 carers (4,223 women) from eight countries (Australia, Chile, Ireland, Lao People’s Democratic Republic [PDR], Nigeria, Sri Lanka, Thailand, and Vietnam). Country response rates ranged from 35% to 99%. Face-to-face or telephone surveys asking about harm from others’ alcohol use to children ages 0–17 years were conducted, including four specific harms that because of others’ alcohol use in the past year children had been
- physically hurt,
- verbally abused,
- exposed to domestic violence, or
- left unsupervised.
The prevalence of alcohol-related harms to children varied from a low of 4% in Lao PDR to 14% in Vietnam. Alcohol-related harms to children were reported by a substantial minority of families in most countries, with only Lao PDR and Nigeria reporting significantly lower levels of harm.
Alcohol-related harms to children were dispersed sociodemographically and were concentrated in families with heavy alcohol users.
Family-level alcohol use patterns were consistently identified as correlates of harm to children because of others’ alcohol consumption, whereas sociodemographic factors showed few obvious correlations.