Alcohol and violence


There is a widespread popular belief, in parts of Europe and elsewhere, that 'alcohol causes violence'. In discussions of public disorder, violent crime, domestic violence and football hooliganism, drinking is frequently cited as a primary cause of the problem, and controls on alcohol consumption proposed as a solution.

These rather simplistic assumptions persist, and continue to influence government policy and legislation, despite the increasing body of scientific evidence showing that the relationship between alcohol consumption and aggressive or violent behaviour is not a direct causal link, but rather a complex interaction of biochemical, psychological, situational and cultural factors. The purpose of this paper is to provide a clear, concise and accessible summary of the research on this relationship, the conclusions that can reasonably be drawn from the available evidence, and the main implications for public policy and education.

 Next section  Biochemical and psychological factors