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Associations of Couples Intimate Partner Violence in Young Adulthood and Substance Use: A Dyadic Approach

NCJ Number
Date Published
January 2017
8 pages
This study advances the literature by examining the role of alcohol and marijuana use on couples’ intimate partner violence (IPV), using an actor-partner framework.
Despite numerous studies on associations between substance use and IPV, the literature lacks consistency and clarity, making it difficult to ascertain the strength and nature of such associations. Scientific understanding of contextual factors that contribute to IPV would be enhanced by studies that adopt a dyadic perspective. The current study obtained data from a community-based sample of 323 young adults at risk for delinquency, along with their romantic partners. Young adults and partners reported on their own alcohol and marijuana use and their own and their partners’ IPV. Results indicate actor and partner effects for psychological and sexual IPV. Men and women who used more substances experienced greater IPV perpetration and victimization compared with men and women who used fewer substances. The only significant predictor of physical IPV was an actor effect, in which women’s polysubstance use (vs. abstention) was predictive of higher levels of victimization. The findings indicate associations between alcohol use and IPV, particularly for men, and for polysubstance users of both sexes. This is consistent with other findings that indicate although alcohol use is a risk factor for IPV, effects vary considerably as a function of context, methodology, and samples. Given the presence of actor and partner effects, studies that use dyadic frameworks have the potential to yield more precise knowledge about the role of substance use in IPV. (Publisher abstract modified)
Date Published: January 1, 2017