JOURNAL ARTICLE

Problem drinking and intimate partner violence

Helene Raskin White, Ping-Hsin Chen
Journal of Studies on Alcohol 2002, 63 (2): 205-14
12033697

OBJECTIVE: This study examined the role of problem drinking in intimate partner violence (IPV) perpetration and victimization for men and women. We assessed (1) whether the relationship between problem drinking and IPV was spurious and (2) if relationship dissatisfaction and partner drinking mediated the effects of problem drinking on IPV.

METHOD: Five waves of longitudinal data from a nonclinical sample (N = 725; 400 women), aged 12 through 31 years, were analyzed to determine the effects of problem drinking on IPV after controlling for eight common risk factors. Regression analyses were conducted to determine whether relationship dissatisfaction and partner drinking patterns mediated the effects of problem drinking on IPV after controlling for these same risk factors.

RESULTS: With controls, problem drinking significantly predicted perpetration and victimization for men and women. Partner drinking was not related to perpetration or victimization for men. For women, partner drinking was strongly related to perpetration and victimization. It fully mediated the effects of problem drinking on perpetration, but did not mediate these effects on victimization. Relationship dissatisfaction fully mediated the effects of problem drinking on male and female perpetration and partially mediated the effects on male victimization. Relationship dissatisfaction did not mediate the effects of problem drinking on female victimization.

CONCLUSIONS: The relationship between problem drinking and IPV was not spurious for men or women. Heavier drinking by partners put women at greater risk for perpetration and victimization and mediated the effects of their own problem drinking on perpetration. Programs that prevent and treat problem drinking among young men should have a beneficial impact on reducing IPV.

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