Understanding the Alcohol Harm Paradox

Flagship Research

This flagship research is being carried out by the Centre for Public Health at Liverpool John Moores University.  It explores why alcohol harms are more heavily concentrated among deprived communities, despite levels of consumption being similar across all social groups.

Using a combination of systematic literature review, data analysis and a large-scale public survey, the team will explore a number of hypotheses which may explain the ‘harm paradox’.  These are:

  • alcohol-harm-paradoxThe ‘alcohol harm paradox ‘is genuine” and may be explained by affluent populations having greater social and health resilience to disease and social harm
  • The ‘alcohol harm paradox ‘is genuine” and may be explained by heavy drinkers being pushed into poverty through not being able to work or not holding down a job as a result of their alcohol consumption and / or alcohol-related illness
  • The ‘alcohol harm paradox ‘is genuine” and may be explained by differences in patterns of alcohol consumption rather than overall consumption
  • The ‘alcohol harm paradox ‘is genuine” and may be explained by the health service response to harm or the quality of treatment provision in different areas.
  • The ‘alcohol harm paradox ‘is not genuine and is an oversimplification or a result of inaccurate recording of consumption data.

A video of Professors Mark Bellis and Sir Ian Gilmore discussing this research project is available on the FEAD website.