A cross-sectional analysis of the relationship between alcohol availability, neighbourhood deprivation and chronic mental health disorder in Scotland
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This study explores alcohol availability in Scotland. In particular it focuses on the relationship between availability, deprivation and mental health. The study aims to a) compare three supply-measures of availability and their associations with neighbourhood level deprivation, and b) examine the association between neighbourhood availabilities of on-sales and off-sales alcohol outlets and mental health disorders. This was a cross-sectional study where alcohol availability measures were calculated for the Scottish data zone administrative geography (n = 6,976 across Scotland). Using alcohol outlet data(2016) from the Liquor Licensing Board, three measures of availability were calculated for total, on and off-license alcohol outlets: 1) kernel density estimation at 800m and 1500m search distances; 2) counts within buffers at 800m and 1500m distances; 3) distance to the nearest outlet from the population-weighted centroid of each data zone. Average outlet densities and distances were calculated for neighbourhoods grouped by their level of income deprivation and compared using one-way analysis of variance (ANOVA). Multiple linear regression models were used to estimate the association between availability of alcohol outlets and chronic-related mental health disorder. This study found that the density-based supply-measures captured the same distribution of outlets and associations with the health outcome at 800m, but not for a 1500m travel distance. This emphasises the importance of sensitivity testing in studies of this nature. Additionally, this study observed a strong positive association between exposure to off-license outlets and chronic-related mental health disorder. These findings accentuate the need for alcohol-retail legislation, particularly for those populations most vulnerable.