News Video | Policy | GPs | Hospitals | Medical | Mental Health | Welfare | Search


Reducing the alcohol age increased assaults of young males

Thursday 19 June 2014

Reducing the alcohol minimum purchasing age increased assaults of young males

New research from the University of Otago shows that reducing the minimum alcohol purchasing age to 18 in December 1999, was associated with an increase in assaults of 15-19 year-old males in New Zealand.

The study examined characteristics of patients admitted to New Zealand hospitals with assault injuries on weekends four years before, and up to 12 years after, the law change. Researchers compared assault rates among 18-19 year-olds, whose legal access to alcohol increased, and 15-17 year-olds, whose informal access to alcohol probably increased, against 20-21 year-olds, whose access was unaffected by the law change. The research, published in the prestigious American Journal of Public Health, showed that assault rates increased among 15-19 year-old males compared with the older control group. There were no such effects for females.

Lead author Professor Kypros Kypri says “Our previous research and three other studies showed deleterious effects of the 1999 law change on traffic injury and this was consistent with studies of similar law changes in Australia, the USA, and Canada. There had been no such studies of the effects on assault which is an increasingly important problem in New Zealand and other countries that have liberalised access to alcohol among young people.”

The 12 years following the law change were split into three 4-year periods and assault rates in each were compared with the four years immediately preceding the law change. Compared with the change seen in 20-21 year-old males, rates increased by a fifth in 18-19 year-old males, and by a quarter in 15-17 year-old males. Among females, the differences between the three age groups over time were not statistically significant.

“A limitation of the study is that there was insufficient statistical power to properly examine the effect of the law change on females. This is partly because the assault rate is so much lower among females than males, but it is also likely that the dynamics of assault are quite different when females are injured,” says co-author Professor Jennie Connor.

She added, “While girls and young women are drinking more than ever, they still account for only one in five or six assault hospitalisations. Assault remains predominantly a problem affecting young men and is likely to be contributing to the gender gap in health”.

The findings have important implications for public policy. “Increasing the minimum alcohol purchasing age should be considered as a countermeasure for the rising incidence of assault in many middle and high income countries, including New Zealand” says Professor Kypri.

Source: Kypri K, Davie G, McElduff P, Connor JL, Langley JDL (2014). Effects of lowering the minimum alcohol purchasing age on weekend hospitalised assault. American Journal of Public Health, 104(8) 10.2105/AJPH.2014.301889.
The research was funded with a Project Grant from the Health Research Council of New Zealand.


© Scoop Media

Culture Headlines | Health Headlines | Education Headlines


13/10: 40 Years Since The Māori Land March Arrived At Parliament

Traffic into Wellington came to a standstill as thousands of Māori and Pākehā streamed along the motorway into the capital on 13 October 1975, concluding the Māori land march to parliament. More>>


Scoop Review Of Books: Before The Quakes

Remembering Christchurch: Voices from decades past: The Christchurch I lived in for my first 23 years was where four-year-olds walked alone to kindergarten, crossing roads empty of all but a couple of cars per hour. My primary school, Ilam, was newly built on a grassy paddock surrounded by rural land... More>>

6-11 October: New Zealand Improvisation Festival Hits Wellington

Wellingtonians will have a wide selection of improv to feast on with a jam packed programme containing 22 shows, three companies from Australia, two companies from Auckland, one from Nelson, one from Christchurch and seven from Wellington. More>>


Bird Of The Year: New Zealanders Asked To Vote For Their Favourite Native Bird

Te Radar, David Farrier, Heather du-Plessis Allan and Duncan Garner are just some of the New Zealanders championing their favourite native bird in Forest & Bird’s annual Bird of the Year competition, which kicks off today.. More>>


Werewolf Film: It Follows - Panic In Detroit

Philip Matthews: When you heard last month that Wes Craven had died and you wanted to pay homage, you could have sat down with any one of five of his films that helped reinvent American horror at least three times over three decades... Or you could just have watched one of the greatest recent horror films that would probably not exist without Craven. More>>


Werewolf Music: Searching For The White Wail - On Art Pepper, etc

If the word ‘hipster’ means anything – which it arguably doesn’t – it seems to be more of an impulse than a condition. One always headed for the margins, and away from the white-bred, white-bread mainstream... More>>


Get More From Scoop



Search Scoop  
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news