Alcohol consumption and intimate partner violence perpetration among college students: the role of self-determination

M Christina Hove, Michele R Parkhill, Clayton Neighbors, Jennifer Molloy McConchie, Nicole Fossos
Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs 2010, 71 (1): 78-85

OBJECTIVE: The present research examined the role of self-determination theory in alcohol consumption and intimate partner violence (IPV) perpetration among college students. We were interested in evaluating the extent to which individual differences in self-determination (i.e., autonomous and controlled orientations) may influence problematic alcohol use and male-to-female IPV perpetration and the extent to which problem drinking may mediate the associations between self-determination and IPV perpetration.

METHOD: A total of 313 incoming heterosexual, male freshman drinkers at a large northwestern university between the ages of 18 and 21 years completed self-report measures of autonomous and controlled orientations, alcohol use, and IPV perpetration as part of a larger social norms intervention study. Analyses evaluated the influence of autonomous and controlled orientations on alcohol consumption, associated problems, and IPV perpetration.

RESULTS: The proposed model fit the data relatively well, chi(2) (11, N = 313) = 32.19, p = NS, root mean square error of approximation = .079, normed fit index = .95, nonnormed fit index = .93, comparative fit index = .96. Both autonomous and controlled orientations had significant direct and indirect effects on perpetration through alcohol consumption. Although the model fit the data well, it explained a relatively small amount of variance in both alcohol consumption (5%) and perpetration (7%).

CONCLUSIONS: Findings support previous research implicating the role of alcohol in IPV perpetration. Additionally, our findings suggest that self-determination theory may be a useful heuristic in the examination of individual characteristics that promote alcohol consumption and IPV perpetration.

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