O'Donnell R, Mohan A, Purves R, Maani N, Angus C, Egan M & Fitzgerald N (2023) Mechanisms of impact of alcohol availability interventions from the perspective of 63 diverse alcohol licensing stakeholders: a qualitative interview study. Drugs: Education, Prevention and Policy. https://doi.org/10.1080/09687637.2023.2205991
Aims: Interventions restricting temporal and spatial availability of alcohol are associated with reduced harm, but the pathways by which specific interventions have impact are poorly understood. We examined mechanisms of impact from the perspective of diverse licensing stakeholders.
Methods: Fifty-three in-depth interviews were conducted with licensing stakeholders (from public health teams, police, local authority licensing teams and lawyers, and alcohol premises licensing committees) from 20 local government areas. Interviewees were recruited as part of the ExILEnS (Exploring the impact of alcohol licensing in England and Scotland) study. Data were analysed thematically and preliminary themes/subthemes were discussed during online groups with a different sample of public health and licensing professionals (n=10).
Findings: Most interviewees struggled to articulate how availability interventions might lead to changes in alcohol consumption or harms. Five overarching mechanisms were identified: access, visibility, premises and area-level norms, affordability, and management of the night-time economy, with specific pathways identified for certain subgroups/premises types. The mechanisms by which alcohol availability interventions may impact on alcohol consumption and harms are diverse, but were poorly understood.
Conclusions: These findings will inform licensing and availability policy and advocacy, highlighting the need for further scrutiny of the evidence underpinning identified mechanisms, and primary research to address knowledge gaps.
Alcohol availability; alcohol premises licensing; public health; mechanisms of change; outlet density; opening hours
Output Status: Forthcoming/Available Online
Drugs: Education, Prevention and Policy