The neighbourhood social environment and alcohol use among urban and rural Scottish adolescents

Gina Martin, Joanna Inchley, Alan Marshall, Niamh Shortt, Candace Currie

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Citations (Scopus)


Objectives This research examined the relationship between neighbourhood social environmental characteristics and drinking outcomes among a sample of urban and rural adolescents.

Methods From a sample of 1558 Scottish secondary schoolchildren, surveyed as part of the 2010 Health Behaviour in School-aged Children study, we modelled three drinking outcomes on a variety of neighbourhood conditions, including social cohesion, disorder, alcohol outlet density, deprivation, and urban/rurality. Nested and cross-classified multilevel logistic regressions were specified.

Results An urban-to-rural gradient was found with non-urban adolescents exhibiting higher odds of having ever drank. Neighbourhood social cohesion related to having ever drank. Among drinkers, those living in accessible small towns had higher odds of weekly drinking and drunkenness compared to urban areas. Higher odds of drunkenness were also found in remote rural areas. Those residing in the least deprived areas had lower odds of weekly drinking.

Conclusions In Scotland, inequalities exist in adolescent alcohol use by urban/rurality and neighbourhood social conditions. Findings support regional targeting of public health efforts to address inequalities. Future work is needed to develop and evaluate intervention and prevention approaches for neighbourhoods at risk.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)95-105
Number of pages11
JournalInternational Journal of Public Health
Issue number1
Early online date3 Dec 2018
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2019


  • Adolescents
  • Alcohol
  • Neighbourhood
  • Cross-classified
  • Multilevel
  • Urban
  • Rural
  • Alcohol outlet density
  • Social cohesion
  • Disorder


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