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Child Development Research
Volume 2011, Article ID 982525, 6 pages
Research Article

A Macrolevel Examination of County-Level Risk Factors for Underage Drinking Prevention: Intervention Opportunities to Protect Youth in the State of Georgia

1Department of Community Health and Health Behavior, School of Public Health and Health Professions, University at Buffalo, 320 Kimball Hall, Buffalo, NY 14214, USA
2Institute of Public Health, Georgia State University, P.O. Box 3995, Atlanta, GA 30302, USA

Received 30 June 2011; Revised 5 December 2011; Accepted 17 December 2011

Academic Editor: Masha Gartstein

Copyright © 2011 Karen E. O'Quin et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Introduction. Underage drinking can have profoundly negative impacts on childhood development. This study compares 4 categories of known underage drinking risk factors with alcohol consumption. The social indicators in these categories will be compared in the 10 most-at-risk (MAR) counties and the 10 least-at-risk (LAR) counties identified in Georgia. Methods. Independent 2-tailed t-tests were conducted to compare group means among MAR and LAR counties for all identified risk factors. Results. Significant differences were observed in all factors included in the poverty and alcohol outlet density categories. Discussion. The findings underscore the importance of better understanding youth drinking, poverty, and alcohol outlet density. However, our findings, supported by previous individual and aggregated level research, support strategies for researchers and policy makers to more proactively respond to poverty-stricken and high-density alcohol outlet indicators. The current ecological evaluation of underage drinking risk assessed on a macrolevel offers insights into the demographic features, social structures, and cultural patterns of counties that potentially predispose youth to greater health risks specifically associated with underage drinking.