Using data collected from 835 low-income ethnically diverse community women, this study extends previous research by using a longitudinal design in considering men's and women's alcohol use in association with multiple forms of abuse.
Alcohol use overall was significantly and persistently associated with partner abuse. Women who drank more and perceived their partners as more frequent drinkers were generally more likely to experience intimate partner violence (IPV) than women who drank less or had partners who drank infrequently. Although women's drinking in this sample was unrelated to threats of violence or sexual aggression, the study found an association between women's drinking and physical violence. These results provide additional support for the link between alcohol use and IPV. This is a further indication that substance-use treatment may be beneficial for both perpetrators and victims of IPV. The authors note, however, that although women are never to blame for their IPV victimization, the findings do imply a potentially important vulnerability to victimization associated with their use of alcoholic beverages. They also note that substance use may be used as a coping mechanism for the physical and emotional pain of being abused. Although this study focused on male partners' perpetration of violence, future studies would benefit from examining the link between alcohol use and females' perpetration of violence. The data for this study are from waves one, two, three, five, and six of Project HOW (Health Outcomes of Women). The initial sample consisted of 835 women who self-identified as African-American (n=302), Euro-American (n=302), Euro-American (n=273), or Mexican-American (n=260). The Severity of Violence Against Women Scale measured partners' threats of violence, physical violence, and sexual aggression. Women also reported on the frequency of their own and their partners' alcohol consumption. 3 tables and 2 figures