RESEARCH

Environmental Approaches to Prevention

Director: Paul J. Gruenwald, Ph.D.

Introduction

The “Environmental Approaches to Prevention” Research Center has been continuously funded for 36 years by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism to investigate environmental causes and correlates of alcohol use, abuse, and alcohol-related problems in communities in the United States.  The current Center grant round includes interrelated projects designed to further enhance our understanding of the role that social and physical environments play in determining how people use alcohol and the kinds of problems they experience related to alcohol in community settings.

Communities across the US are increasingly aware of the health and social problems related to alcohol use.  Alcohol related traffic crashes, of course, are a visible and well-known consequence of the risky or inappropriate use of alcohol.  Other costly problems related to alcohol use include other accidental injuries, child abuse and neglect, interpersonal violence, risky sexual behaviors, underage use and problems related to underage drinking, addiction and chronic disease.  Throughout its history, PRC research projects have defined the cutting edge of scientific efforts to design novel environmental approaches to the reduction of alcohol-related problems through changes in the economic, social and physical environments in which people drink.  PRC researchers recognize that these social environments have a major influence on individual behaviors and alcohol problems throughout the life course.  Changing these environments for the better, we can improve public health and well-being and save lives.

Research Goals and Activities

In its current five-year grant, PRC is focusing upon identifying:

  • Practical information for communities, policy makers, and the public