Harms to Adults from Others' Heavy Drinking in Five Indian States

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The aims of this study were to assess a wide range of alcohol-related harms from known heavy drinkers in Indian respondents' lives, and to assess respondents' characteristics and drinking patterns associated with reporting these harms.


Household interviews were administered in five Indian states from October 2011 to May 2012. For the secondary data analyses in this study, participants were Indians, ages 15–70, who self-reported having a heavy drinker in their lives (n = 5,375). We assessed the proportion of respondents reporting seventeen types of alcohol-related harms from a heavy drinker.


Approximately 83% of respondents reported at least one alcohol-related harm from a heavy drinker in their lives. Twenty-five percent of respondents reported physical harm, 6% reported sexual harm and 50% reported emotional harm or neglect. Controlling for other factors, being in the upper income quartiles was associated with reporting ≥5 harm types. Among females, being age 25–39 and married/cohabitating predicted reporting ≥5 harm types, while among males, being age 25–39 or age 40–70 and living in a rural area increased the odds. Among females, binge drinkers had 46% lower odds of reporting ≥5 harm types than abstainers; among males, binge drinkers had 54% greater odds.


Regardless of respondents' own drinking pattern, a substantial proportion of respondents reported experiencing a range of harms from a known heavy drinker; interventions are needed to reduce these harms.

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