Alcohol and violence

Conclusion and implications

From the research evidence available, we can conclude that there is no direct causal relationship between alcohol and violence. The probability of aggression is increased when the effects of alcohol-induced cognitive impairment are amplified or exacerbated by both the characteristics of the immediate situation and cultural expectations that drinking causes aggression. Where the immediate social context is non-aggressive and where cultural beliefs and norms inhibit aggression, drinkers are highly unlikely to become aggressive.

These conclusions indicate that attempts to restrict consumption of alcohol are likely to be unsuccessful in preventing or reducing problems of disorder and violence. A more effective approach would involve measures designed to improve the management of drinking environments and, even more importantly, educational measures designed to preserve and promote more positive beliefs about the behavioural effects of alcohol.

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