Do Alcohol Outlets Mediate the Effects of the Moving to Opportunity Experiment on Adolescent Excessive Drinking? A Secondary Analysis of a Randomized Controlled Trial

Spruha Joshi, Nicole M Schmidt, Naomi H Thyden, M. Maria Glymour, Toben F Nelson, David A Haynes, Theresa L. Osypuk

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Background: Housing mobility impacts adolescent alcohol use, and the neighborhood built environment may impact this relationship. Methods: Moving to Opportunity (MTO) was a multi-site, three-arm, household-level experiment. MTO randomly assigned one of three treatment arms (1994–1997) allowing families living in public housing to (1) receive a voucher to be redeemed any neighborhood (2) receive a voucher to be redeemed in a neighborhood with less than 10% poverty (3) remain in public housing (control). MTO decreased girls’ alcohol use, but increased boys’ alcohol use. Treatment groups were pooled because they are similar conceptually and statistically on our primary outcome. Among youth aged 12–19 in 2001–2002 (N = 2829), we estimated controlled direct effects mediation of MTO treatment effects on youth with housing vouchers (N = 1950) vs. controls (N = 879) on past 30-day number of drinks per day on days drank, using gender-stratified Poisson regression. Mediators were density of on- and off-premises alcohol outlets per square mile at the families’ census tract of residence in 1997. Results: Treatment group youth were randomized to live in 1997 census tracts with lower off-premises, but higher on-premises, outlet density. MTO treatment (vs. controls) decreased drinking for girls via alcohol outlet density, but only at higher levels of outlet density. Treatment was 18% more beneficial when girls moved to high density neighborhoods, compared to controls who stayed living in public housing in high density neighborhoods. Conclusion: Additional social processes unmeasured in the current study may play an important role in the alcohol use and other health risks for girls.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1788-1796
Number of pages9
JournalSubstance Use and Misuse
Volume57
Issue number12
DOIs
StatePublished - 2022

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This project was funded by National Institute of Alcohol and Alcohol Abuse (NIAAA) R21 AA024530, National Institute on Drug Abuse 5T32DA007233-36, and National Institute of Child Health and Human Development P2CHD041023 and T32HD095134.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 Taylor & Francis Group, LLC.

Keywords

  • Alcohol
  • adolescent
  • alcohol outlet
  • neighborhood

PubMed: MeSH publication types

  • Journal Article
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

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