The joint study, conducted with the Pacific Institute for Research and Evaluation's Prevention Research Center (PRC), looked at data from 1,646 California ZIP codes and compared population and environmental (place) characteristics with incidences of injury from accidents, assaults and child abuse for children up to age 17.
Co-author Bridget Freisthler, assistant professor of social welfare at the UCLA School of Public Affairs and an affiliated research scientist at the PRC, said the results suggest that the density of "off-premise" alcohol outlets (such as liquor stores and markets) may contribute to increased drinking by parents at home, affecting their monitoring and guardianship abilities and thus contributing to the number of injuries.
Injuries are the number one cause of death among children between the ages of 1 and 14, highlighting the importance of studying the causes and consequences of such injuries.
The results of the study, "An Ecological Assessment of the Population and Environmental Correlates of Childhood Accident, Assault and Child Abuse Injuries," will be published in November in Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research, the official journal of the Research Society on Alcoholism and the International Society for Biomedical Research on Alcoholism.
"This is just one in a series of studies showing how important alcohol-outlet density is for health, safety and welfare," Freisthler said.
"I hope people will become more aware that the location of alcohol outlets has significance that goes beyond economic concerns and convenience," she added.
Co-authors of the report are Lori Ring, a doctoral student in the UCLA Department of Social Welfare, and Paul J. Gruenwald and Elizabeth A. LaScala of the Prevention Research Center. The study was funded by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism.
The full report is available to reporters by contacting Mary Newcomb at the journal's editorial office at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The UCLA School of Public Affairs, founded in 1994, includes the departments of public policy, social welfare and urban planning and offers graduate degrees in each, as well as doctoral degrees in social welfare and urban planning. The school's three departments and several research centers make it one of the largest and most dynamic of its kind in the nation.