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Drinking Often Spurs Move to Poorer Neighborhoods
Date:8/28/2007

Alcoholism a common trigger for downward social mobility, study confirms

TUESDAY, Aug. 28 (HealthDay News) -- While alcoholism and living in a downscale neighborhood often go together, a new study finds that it is the problem drinking that usually comes first.

"The more alcohol problems a man has, the more likely he is going to remain in, or migrate into, a disadvantaged neighborhood," according to a team of University of Michigan researchers. They report their findings in the September issue of Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research.

"It can be kind of bleak when you look at it, but we know that alcoholics are prone to a whole range of negative consequences," added Ryan Trim, a research psychologist at the VA San Diego Health Care System who's familiar with the findings.

Experts have looked at the connections between neighborhoods and alcohol use in the past, but they've tended to focus on how bad neighborhoods might help produce alcoholism, Trim said.

He said the new study is unusual, because it looks at the link from the other direction: whether alcohol use makes people more likely to migrate to worse areas.

In the study, the University of Michigan team looked at a sample of 206 white men -- average age 33 -- from a four-county area. The region was not disclosed.

Some of the participants were recruited through court records about drunk-driving arrests, and researchers considered them to be either "probable" or "definite" alcoholics. For comparison purposes, the other men in the study were not alcoholics. All the men lived with their children.

The researchers followed the men for 12 years, checking in with them every three years.

After adjusting their figures to account for factors such as poverty level and antisocial behavior, the researchers found that the more trouble a man had with alcohol, the more likely he was to move to, or reside in, a po
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