Article Text

Alcohol-related harm to others in England: a cross-sectional analysis of national survey data
  1. Caryl Beynon1,
  2. David Bayliss1,
  3. Jenny Mason1,
  4. Kate Sweeney1,
  5. Clare Perkins1,
  6. Clive Henn2
  1. 1 Risk Factors Intelligence Team, Public Health England, Liverpool, UK
  2. 2 Alcohol, Drugs and Tobacco Division, Public Health England, London, UK
  1. Correspondence to Dr Caryl Beynon; caryl.beynon{at}


Objectives To estimate the prevalence, the frequency and the perpetrators of alcohol-related harm to others (AHTO) and identify factors associated with experiencing harm and aggressive harm.

Design Cross-sectional survey.

Setting England.

Participants Adults (general population) aged 16 and over.

Outcome measures Percentage of respondents who experienced harm. Socioeconomic and demographic factors associated with the outcomes. Outcomes were (1) experienced harm/did not experience harm and (2) experienced aggressive harm (physically threatened, physically hurt and forced/pressured into something sexual)/did not experience an aggressive harm (no aggressive harm plus no harm at all).

Results Data to support a response rate calculation were not collected; 96.3% of people surveyed completed the AHTO questions. The weighted sample was 4874; 20.1% (95% CI 18.9 to 21.4, N=980) reported experiencing harm in the previous 12 months and 4.6% (95% CI 4.0 to 5.4, N=225) reported experiencing an aggressive harm. Friends and strangers were the dominant perpetrators. Most harms (74.8%) occurred less than monthly. Factors associated with experiencing harm were: younger age (p<0.001), drinking harmfully/hazardously (p<0.001), white British (p<0.001 compared to other white groups and Asian groups and p=0.017 compared to black groups), having a disability (p<0.001), being educated (p<0.001 compared to no education) and living in private rented accommodation (p=0.004 compared with owned outright). Being in the family stage of life (defined as having children in the household) had significantly lower odds of harm (p=0.006 compared to being single), as did being retired (p<0.001 compared to being employed). Factors associated with experiencing an aggressive harm were similar.

Conclusions This exploratory study, using data collected through the Alcohol Toolkit Survey, shows that AHTO affects 20.1% of the population of England. Even apparently minor harms, like being kept awake, can have a negative impact on health, while aggressive harms are clearly of concern. Using a standard methodology to measure harm across studies would be advantageous. Policies that focus on alcohol must take into consideration the impact of drinking on those other than the drinker.

  • alcohol-related harm to others
  • alcohol
  • violence

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  • Contributors CB provided day-to-day management of the study, helped design the questionnaire and wrote the first draft. DB did the analysis and helped to write the first draft. JM undertook a review of the literature. KS was involved with the initiation, helped design the questionnaire and provided statistical support. CP was involved with the initiation of the study. CH was involved with the initiation of the study and helped design the questionnaire. All authors reviewed and helped to revise successive drafts and approved the final version of the manuscript.

  • Funding The work was funded by Public Health England.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Ethics approval Approval for the ATS was granted by University College London’s ethics committee (reference: 0498/001) and for the AHTO questions by the Research Support and Governance Office, Public Health England (reference: R&D 055).

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

  • Data sharing statement Sharing of data will be considered by PHE and UCL on a case-by-case basis. Please contact the lead author for further details.

  • Patient consent for publication Not required.

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