Study Links Drinking Habits to Partner Violence

C. Price
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The damaging and lasting effects of alcohol have been heavily studied, but scientists are now looking to better understand the link between drinking and violence in relationships.

A new study published in the Journal of the Study of Alcohol and Drugs looks into intimate partner violence, or IPV, and how drinking can be an indicator of violence.

Researchers interviewed more than 1,500 married or cohabitating couples in California. Each partner was interviewed separately about the previous year together and the drinking patterns of themselves and their partner, along with questions about any forms of physical, sexual or psychological abuse in the relationship.

The results show men were more likely to be violent toward their partner if they were the type to drink in a party atmosphere. Additionally, women with partners who drink at home proved more likely to be violent themselves.

“Men were more likely to be violent

if they drank in a party atmosphere.”

Overall, 6 percent of couples reported male-to-female partner violence and 10 percent reported female-to-male violence.

Lead researcher Christina Mair, of the University of Pittsburgh, said the results are not always a reflection of how people behaved at the time they were drinking. Violent behavior not directly related to alcohol was also recorded.

“Perhaps men who drink frequently at parties are surrounded by others who share more permissive norms about (intimate partner violence), and they get riled up while at the party, then go home and hit their wife,” she said.

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