Substance Abuse Treatment, Prevention, and Policy

, 7:36

First online:

Open Access This content is freely available online to anyone, anywhere at any time.

Alcohol environment, gender and nonfatal injuries in young people. An ecological study of fourteen Swedish municipalities (2000–2005)

  • Richard A DaleAffiliated withDepartment of Social Medicine, The Sahlgrenska Academy at the University of Gothenburg Email author 
  • , Marie HasselbergAffiliated withDepartment of Public Health Sciences, Division of Global Health/IHCAR, Karolinska Institute
  • , Max PetzoldAffiliated withCentre for Applied Biostatistics, The Sahlgrenska Academy at the University of Gothenburg
  • , Gunnel HensingAffiliated withDepartment of Social Medicine, The Sahlgrenska Academy at the University of Gothenburg



Sweden has had a restrictive alcohol policy, but there are gender and geographical differences in alcohol consumption and injury rates within the country. Whether and how the Swedish alcohol environment influences gender differences in injuries in young people is still unclear. Thus, the aim of this study was to analyse the associations between the local alcohol environment and age- and gender-specific nonfatal injury rates in people up to 24 years in Sweden.


The local alcohol environment from 14 municipalities was studied using indicators of alcohol access, alcohol consumption and alcohol-related crimes. A comprehensive health care register of nonfatal injuries was used to estimate mean annual rates of nonfatal injuries by gender and age group (2000–2005). Pearson’s correlation coefficients were used to analyse linear associations.


Associations were shown for both alcohol access and alcohol consumption with injury rates in boys aged 13–17 years; no other associations were observed between alcohol access or per capita alcohol consumption and nonfatal childhood injuries. The prevalence of crimes against alcohol laws was associated with injury rates in children of both genders aged 6–17 years.


This study found no strong area-level associations between alcohol and age and gender specific nonfatal injuries in young people. Further, the strength of the area-level associations varied by age, gender and type of indicator used to study the local alcohol environment.


Children Young adults Alcohol access Per capita alcohol consumption Crimes against alcohol laws Nonfatal injuries Sweden Municipality level Gender