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Nordic Studies on Alcohol and Drugs

The Journal of Nordic Centre for Welfare and Social Issues

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Challenges in estimating population impacts of alcohol’s harm to others

Ingeborg Rossow
  • Corresponding author
  • PhD Norwegian Institute of Public Health, Norway
  • Email:
/ Mats Ramstedt
  • PhD Swedish Council for Information on Alcohol and Other Drugs, Sweden
  • Email:
Published Online: 2016-12-22 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/nsad-2016-0042


BACKGROUND - There is a renewed interest in alcohol’s harm to others (AHTO), and survey studies in the general population are often used to estimate the extent of harm, to address the severity and variety of harms, and to identify the victims of such harm. While cross-sectional survey studies are attractive in several respects, they also entail several methodological challenges. AIM - We discuss some of these issues, paying particular attention to the problems of causal attribution, transferability, survey data collection and range of harms. CONCLUSIONS - We offer some suggestions for study design to enhance causal inferences from studies examining alcohol’s harm to others.

Keywords: Alcohol; harm to others; population surveys; causal attribution; study design; data collection


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About the article

Received: 2016-05-28

Accepted: 2016-09-09

Published Online: 2016-12-22

Published in Print: 2016-12-01

Citation Information: Nordic Studies on Alcohol and Drugs, ISSN (Online) 1458-6126, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/nsad-2016-0042. Export Citation

© by Ingeborg Rossow. This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 License. (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0)

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