Background: Rates of violence in Russia are among the highest in the world, and violent victimization represents a major public health threat in the country. As yet, however, little research has been undertaken on what factors are associated with non-lethal violent victimization in this setting. This study used data from the 'Moscow Health Survey 2004' to examine the effects of binge drinking and social capital on individuals' risk of non-fatal violent victimization.
Method: A stratified random sampling strategy was used across Moscow's 125 municipal districts to collect data from 1190 individuals aged 18+. Respondents reported if they had been a victim of physical violence in the previous twelve months. Data were also collected on binge drinking (defined for men as consuming ≥80g of pure alcohol, and for women ≥60g of pure alcohol, at least once per month) and social capital (frequency of interaction with relatives, friends, and acquaintances).
Results: Overall 8.7% of the respondents had been a victim of violence in the past 12 months. Men who binge drink were more than twice as likely to have been a victim of non-lethal violence (OR: 2.19; CI: 1.23-3.92), while greater levels of social capital acted as a protective factor against male victimization (OR: 0.82; CI: 0.69-0.97). Neither binge drinking nor social capital was associated with violent victimization among women.
Conclusion: Urgent public health measures are now needed to reduce excessive alcohol consumption and detrimental drinking patterns in order to bring down the high levels of violent victimization in Russia.