SOURCE: Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs, news release, Dec. 10, 2014
WEDNESDAY, Dec. 10, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- Restricting the number of locations where alcohol can be sold in a community may help reduce domestic violence, researchers say.
The team at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reviewed 16 studies that examined the link between alcohol sales regulations in communities and rates of intimate partner violence. Some of the things they looked at included the number of alcohol sales outlets, hours of days of alcohol sales, and alcohol pricing/taxes.
The only factor consistently associated with rates of domestic violence was the number of locations where alcohol was sold. Locations included bars and restaurants, and liquor, grocery and convenience stores, according to the researchers.
Most of the studies found that communities with a greater number of places to buy or drink alcohol also had higher rates of domestic violence. That link held true even after the researchers accounted for factors such as local poverty and jobless rates.
But the association seen in the study does not prove a cause-and-effect relationship.
"The studies that we reviewed do not indicate that alcohol outlet density or the outlets themselves cause partner violence," Dennis Reidy, a behavioral scientist at the CDC, said in a journal news release.
"However, our findings suggest that local regulation of alcohol outlet density may be able to reduce rates of intimate partner violence within a community," he added.
A number of states and communities in the United States have created laws to reduce excessive drinking. Many use licensing and zoning laws to limit the number of places where people can buy alcohol.
Other anti-drinking policies, such as higher prices and taxation and limiting the hours of operation of alcohol outlets don't appear to reduce intimate partner violence. The researchers said further study is needed to determine why that's the case.
The new findings appear in the January issue of the Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs.
The U.S. National Library of Medicine has more about domestic violence.