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Improving measurement of harms from others' drinking: A key informant study on type and severity of harm

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posted on 2023-05-21, 10:09 authored by Oliver StanesbyOliver Stanesby, Gmel, G, Graham, K, Greenfield, TK, Waleewong, O, Wilsnack, SC

Aims: Some types of harms experienced because of others' drinking (AHTO) may produce greater negative effects than other harms. However, AHTO survey items were developed to measure type, not severity, of harm. We aimed to compare the perceived severity of a comprehensive list of AHTO items to assess consistency in subjective ratings of severity, facilitate a more nuanced analysis and identify strategies to improve measurement of AHTO in epidemiological surveys.

Methods: Thirty-six leaders of national alcohol surveys (conducted between 1997 and 2016) from 23 countries rated the typical severity of negative effects on the victim of each of 48 types of AHTO using a scale from zero (no negative effect) to 10 (very severe negative effect). The survey leaders were also asked to provide open-ended feedback about each harm and the severity-rating task generally.

Results: Of 48 harm items, five were classified as extreme severity (mean rating ≥8), 17 as high (≥6 <8), 25 as moderate (≥4 <6), and one as low (≤4). We used two-way random effects models to estimate absolute agreement intraclass correlation coefficients (AA-ICC) and consistency of agreement intraclass correlation coefficients (CA-ICC). Results showed that there was fair to excellent absolute agreement and consistency of agreement among "experts'' ratings of the severity of harms from others' drinking (single measures CA-ICC = 0.414, single measures AA-ICC = 0.325; average CA-ICC = 0.940, average AA-ICC = 0.914). Harms to children, and harms causing physical, financial, practical, or severe emotional impacts were rated most severe.

Conclusions: When designing new AHTO surveys and conducting analyses of existing data, researchers should pay close attention to harms with high perceived severity to identify effective ways to prevent severe AHTO and reduce the negative health and social impacts of AHTO. In-depth analyses of specific sub-sets of harms and qualitative interviews with victims of severe AHTO may prove useful.


Publication title

Nordisk Alkohol- & Narkotikatidskrift: NAT








Menzies Institute for Medical Research


SAGE Publishing

Place of publication

United States

Rights statement

© The Author(s) 2020. This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International (CC BY-NC 4.0) License ( ) which permits non-commercial use, reproduction and distribution of the work without further permission provided the original work is attributed.

Repository Status

  • Open

Socio-economic Objectives

Behaviour and health; Substance abuse