Center Grant


Environmental Approaches to Prevention
National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism
Project Period: 01/01/13-11/30/17
Principal Investigator: Paul J. Gruenewald, Ph.D.

There are many health and social problems attributed to alcohol use. These problems are costly to communities and sometimes have tragic consequences. Prevention Research Center’s (PRC) perspective on such problems is unique in that we look at the roles that social, economic and physical environments play in accidents and injuries that arise from alcohol use and abuse. We use the information we obtain through our research to develop innovative and practical solutions to ameliorate these problems. For over 34 years the Center has been continuously funded by the U.S. National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, an institute within the National Institutes of Health in Washington DC. Our “Environmental Approach” focuses upon what individuals, communities, states and the Federal government can do to change alcohol environments to benefit public health.

Research at the Center focuses on a broad range of alcohol environments from drinking behaviors in individual contexts (like homes, workplaces and bars) to state and Federal regulations that affect drinking and related problems (such as limiting alcohol outlets). Over the past three decades, researchers at the Center are engaged in the development of the basic prevention science necessary to implement preventive interventions that work. This fundamental research enables us to develop effective community-based interventions to reduce alcohol use, abuse and related problems. We continue to be at the forefront of efforts to field and test community-based prevention programs. A core theme of the Center research program is to determine what works and how best to use our knowledge to achieve maximum benefits for communities in the US and throughout the world.

The Center has been funded in five year rounds since 1987. In its current round, PRC continues to carry out research in a sample of 50 California cities that represent many of the different drinking environments that can be encountered in the US. An Administrative Core provides research coordination and over-sight to research projects that focus on nine critical topics in environmental prevention and an education and dissemination component that is used to better inform alcohol prevention efforts at individual, community, state and national levels.

The six Core Components of the Center are:

Administrative Core
Principal Investigator and Component Director: Paul J. Gruenewald, Ph.D.

Environmental Strategies to Reduce Community Alcohol Problems: A Randomized Trial
Component Directors: M.J. Paschall, Ph.D. and Robert Saltz, Ph.D.

The Role of Drinking Contexts in Alcohol-Related Problems among Youth
Component Directors: Sharon Lipperman-Kreda, Ph.D. and Melina Bersamin, Ph.D.

Maladaptive Parenting, Activity Spaces, Alcohol and the Substance Use Environment
Component Director: Bridget Freisthler, Ph.D.

Direct, Indirect and Total Spatial Impacts of Alcohol Outlets on Related Problems
Component Director: Paul J. Gruenewald, Ph.D.

Education and Dissemination in Support of Community Action
Component Directors: Kathryn Stewart and Paul J. Gruenewald, Ph.D.

The three Supplementary Components to the Center are:

Assessing the Impacts of Legalization of Alcohol Sales on a Dry Reservation
Supplement Directors: Roland Moore, Ph.D. and Juliet Lee, Ph.D.

Heterogeneous Dose-Response, Alcohol Abuse and Dependence
Supplement Directors: Paul J. Gruenewald, Ph.D. and Christina Mair, Ph.D.

Social Behavioral Mechanisms of Drug Comorbidity
Supplement Directors: Bridget Freisthler, Ph.D., Sharon Lipperman-Kreda, Ph.D., and M.J. Paschall