Space and Place in Alcohol Research

  • Christina MairEmail author
  • Jessica Frankeberger
  • Paul J. Gruenewald
  • Christopher N. Morrison
  • Bridget Freisthler
Social Epidemiology (J Dowd, Section Editor)
Part of the following topical collections:
  1. Topical Collection on Social Epidemiology


Purpose of Review

To summarize the recent literature on social and physical environments and their links to alcohol use and identify empirical research strategies that will lead to a better understanding of alcohol use in contexts.

Recent Findings

Recent research has continued to describe the importance of neighborhood and regional contexts on alcohol use, while a smaller emerging scientific literature assesses the impacts of contexts on drinking.


The dynamic, longitudinal, and multiscale processes by which social and physical structures affect social interactions and substance use have not yet been uncovered or quantified. In order to understand and quantify these processes, assessments of exposures (e.g., how individuals use space) and risks within specific locations are essential. Methods to better assess these exposures and risks include model-based survey approaches, ecological momentary assessment (EMA), and other forms of ecologically and temporally specific analyses, affiliation network analyses, simulation models, and qualitative/multimethods studies.


Alcohol Social epidemiology Substance use Neighborhood effects Social environment 


Funding Information

This work was funded by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA), National Institutes of Health (NIH) grants P60-AA06282 (Gruenewald, PI) and P60-AA06282-5610 (Mair, Component Director), K01-AA026327 (Morrison, PI), and R01-AA024759 (Mair, PI).

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

Christina Mair reports grants from the National Institutes of Health (P60-AA06282, R01-AA024759). Jessica Frankeberger and Bridget Freisthler each declare no potential conflicts of interest. Paul J Gruenewald reports a grant from the National Institutes of Health (P60-AA06282). Christopher N Morrison reports a grant from the National Institutes of Health (K01-AA026327).

Human and Animal Rights and Informed Consent

This article does not contain any studies with human or animal subjects performed by any of the authors.

Supplementary material

40471_2019_215_MOESM1_ESM.xlsx (45 kb)
ESM 1 (XLSX 45 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Christina Mair
    • 1
    Email author
  • Jessica Frankeberger
    • 1
  • Paul J. Gruenewald
    • 2
  • Christopher N. Morrison
    • 3
    • 4
  • Bridget Freisthler
    • 5
  1. 1.Department of Behavioral and Community Health SciencesUniversity of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public HealthPittsburghUSA
  2. 2.Prevention Research CenterPacific Institute for Research and EvaluationBeltsvilleUSA
  3. 3.Department of Epidemiology, Mailman School of Public HealthColumbia UniversityNew YorkUSA
  4. 4.Department of Epidemiology and Preventive Medicine, School of Public Health and Preventive MedicineMonash UniversityMelbourneAustralia
  5. 5.College of Social WorkThe Ohio State UniversityColumbusUSA

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