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J Interpers Violence. 2012 Mar;27(4):685-705. doi: 10.1177/0886260511423243. Epub 2012 Jan 24.

Social support as a moderator for alcohol-related partner aggression during the transition to parenthood.

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  • 1University of Victoria, Victoria, British Columbia, Canada.


Alcohol-related partner aggression is a pervasive social problem throughout various life stages, including the transition to parenthood. Previous research shows that alcohol use is associated with partner aggression perpetration for both men and women; however, not all individuals who consume alcohol act aggressively. In this study, the moderating effects of general social support and partner-specific support on the association between prepregnancy alcohol use and recent partner physical aggression are investigated using a community sample of 98 pregnant couples. For men, high levels of general appraisal social support (i.e., someone to talk to about one's problems) increases the strength of the association between alcohol use and aggression perpetration, whereas partner-specific emotional support serves as a buffer. For women, general social support is not a significant moderator, but high levels of partner-specific instrumental support strengthens the association between alcohol use and aggression. These results can be applied to prevention and treatment programs for alcohol-related partner aggression.

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