Offsetting the effects of neighborhood disadvantage on problem drinking
Residence in disadvantaged neighborhoods can amplify individual risk for adverse health conditions, including substance use disorders.
Using data from a probability sample of problem alcohol users in Northern California (N = 616) interviewed at baseline and reinterviewed 1 year later, this study examines whether social support can buffer negative effects of neighborhood disadvantage on problem alcohol use.
Living in a disadvantaged neighborhood increased the likelihood of problem alcohol use at follow-up (odds ratio = 2.33, p = 0.015). Although baseline support for reducing alcohol consumption was unrelated to problem alcohol intake at follow-up, there was a significant interaction between neighborhood disadvantage and support.
Among those living in disadvantaged neighborhoods, baseline support significantly decreased the likelihood of problem drinking at follow-up (OR = 0.19, p = 0.048).
Bolstering indigenous community resources where residents can interact with others in recovery or that foster sober activities may offset individual risk. Research is needed to determine whether this may also produce second-order neighborhood change.