Supersized Alcopop Consumption Associated With Homelessness and Gang Membership

Matthew E. Rossheim, Jennifer A. Lerch, Scott T. Walters, Melvin D. Livingston, Faye S. Taxman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Supersized alcopops are single-serving, ready-to-drink beverages with very high alcohol content. Research suggests that consumption of these products is especially dangerous. The current study was one of the first to examine individual-level characteristics associated with recent consumption of supersized alcopops. Methods: Adults on probation (n = 253; 70% male) in Baltimore City, MD, and Dallas, TX, who reported heavy drinking or any illicit drug use completed interviews. Psychosocial scales were drawn from the Criminal Justice Client Evaluation of Self and Treatment Intake. Bivariate analyses were conducted to examine characteristics associated with past 30-day consumption of supersized alcopops. Results: Past 30-day consumption of supersized alcopops was significantly associated with higher scores for hostility and risk-taking, and lower scores on the self-esteem scale compared to nonconsumers. Recent consumption of supersized alcopops was also significantly associated with past 30-day homelessness and current gang affiliation. Among those who did not experience homelessness, 11% consumed supersized alcopops, compared to 30% of those who experienced homelessness. Further, 11% of those who were not gang-affiliated reported consuming a supersized alcopop within the past 30 days, compared to 57% of those who were gang-affiliated. Discussion: This study identifies disparate consumption of dangerous supersized alcopop products by vulnerable and at-risk groups. Better regulation of supersized alcopop marketing is needed to reduce alcohol consumption among high-risk groups, including people who are homeless and gang members, and display greater hostility and risk-taking traits. Previous research suggests that reducing the alcohol by volume and increasing the retail price of supersized alcopops would reduce some of the harms associated with consumption.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2373-2378
Number of pages6
JournalAlcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 2020


  • Binge Drinking
  • Probation Population
  • Probationers
  • Ready-To-Drink Flavored Alcoholic Beverages
  • Risk Factors


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