Alcohol-Related Aggression in the Barroom Environment: A Study of Drinking Establishments at the Jersey Shore

James C. Roberts, Rutgers University

ABSTRACT
There is a growing body of research that has examined the role of various situational variables in incidents of alcohol-related aggression in the barroom environment. At this time, however, most of this research has been conducted outside of the United States. In an attempt to replicate the findings of earlier studies, most of which have been condeucted overseas, I conducted a study at the Jersey Shore in which I examined alcohol-related aggression in a small sample of barrooms. This study consisted of fifty-three interviews of various bar staff, managers, patrons, musicians, and stage help, as well as a series of social observations conducted at each drinking establishment. Findings from this study seemed to coincide with those of earlier research. Situational variables found to be responsible for incidents of alcohol-related aggression included: crowdedness, interior design, flow of traffic, lighting, level of tobacco smoke, temperature, overall comfort of the bar, appearance and demeanor of employees, overall appearance of the bar, type of entertainment, patron characteristics, behaviors tolerated/not tolerated, level of alcohol consumption, and serving practices. It was also found that specific bar staff positions (i.e., bouncers, bartenders, doormen, bar-backs, tub-girls, shot-girls, waitresses, service bar attendants, and bottle-boys) influenced incidents of violence and aggression within barrooms.

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Updated 05/20/2006