It’s no secret that alcohol, drug use and domestic violence are
frequently linked. An extensive body of
scientific research supports that connection. But a new study indicates that where someone drinks may also influence
the type and frequency of violence among intimate partners.
Christina Mair, Ph.D., a new assistant professor in the Department
of Behavioral and Community Health Sciences at the University of Pittsburgh’sGraduate School of Public Health, led a study published last week in the
journal Addiction of the drinking
habits of California couples. The researchers surveyed more than 2,000 couples
to gather information about drinking in six places: restaurants,
bars, parties at a private residence, quiet evenings at home, with friends at
one’s home, and in public places.
Dr. Mair found that
men drinking in bars and parties away from home were linked to increased
male-to-female violence. Instances of women drinking in public places and parks
were also linked to male-to-female violence. Dr. Mair and her colleagues at the Prevention
Research Center in California also found a correlation between men and women drinking
during quiet evenings at home and increased female-to-male violence.
Female-to-male-violence includes arguing, or pushing and
shoving. Almost 10 percent of all the
couples Dr. Mair surveyed reported instances of partner violence where the
woman was the aggressor. Six percent of the study participants reported male-to-female
violence, which is usually more severe.
“This is the first time that anyone has looked at this at
all. It’s not just how much you drink, but where,” says Dr. Mair. “It matters
for both partners and both types of violence.
Now we have to find out why.”
Dr. Mair and her colleagues say these findings may open the
door for practical interventions.
“Instead of just advising couples to drink less, it may be
more effective to encourage them to avoid drinking in certain contexts,” she says.
Labels: alcohol, Christina Mair, domestic violence, Pitt's Graduate School of Public Health