A study of the development of drinking patterns and violent behaviour amongst young people in England and Wales: secondary analysis of the Offending Crime and Justice Survey

  • Carly Lightowlers

Student thesis: Phd


This thesis examines how drinking behaviours are associated with violent behaviour amongst young people in England and Wales. It is argued that in order to deconstruct the alcohol-violence relationship, it is necessary to critically examine drinking patterns and the development thereof as well as attitudes held towards alcohol consumption. The study comprises secondary statistical analyses of the Home Office's Offending Crime and Justice Survey, a survey providing data on young people's drinking and offending behaviour over four successive annual sweeps. Cross-sectional models are used to examine the predictors of violent offending and the role of alcohol consumption. These are subsequently extended into longitudinal models to examine change over time. Collectively, these models provide a detailed exploration of how alcohol consumption influences violent behaviour amongst young people and offer some insights into ways in which alcohol-related violence can be moderated.Whilst, on the whole, individual attitude items did not significantly predict violent behaviour amongst regular drinkers, findings did, however, suggest three distinct classifications based on attitudes held towards drinking: 'social drinkers', 'positively motivated drinkers' and 'problem drinkers', which were significantly associated with age, binge drinking frequency and violent offending. Findings also support existing evidence that the pattern of drinking (rather than the frequency of alcohol consumption) is associated with violent offending and the study identifies a contemporaneous (time-specific) association between levels of binge drinking and assault outcomes. That is, that high frequency binge drinking is a temporally proximal risk factor for the increased propensity of committing assault offences and that occurrences in assault outcomes over time are relatively dependent on levels of drinking over time. In turn, this suggests that the periods in which young people are drinking more, they also offend more. The thesis thus provides evidence that reducing alcohol consumption in late adolescence may, in turn, reduce the prevalence of violent assault offences in and immediately after drinking occasions.
Date of Award1 Aug 2013
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • The University of Manchester
SupervisorMark Elliot (Supervisor) & Mark Tranmer (Supervisor)


  • young people
  • attitudes
  • assault
  • binge drinking
  • alcohol
  • violence

Cite this