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J Stud Alcohol. 2000 Jul;61(4):626-32.

Alcohol-related aggression in the general population.

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  • 1Addiction Research Foundation Division, Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, London, Ontario, Canada.



This study estimates the relationships between drinking in the event and drinking patterns and different levels of aggression severity.


A telephone survey of 1,001 adults (542 women) age 18 and over was conducted (response rate of 67%) using computer assisted telephone interviewing (CATI). Respondents were asked whether they had been personally involved in a serious argument, an incident involving threat, or physical aggression in the past year and whether anyone had been drinking alcohol in the most recent incident. Respondents also reported their typical alcohol consumption patterns.


The proportion of respondents reporting involvement in serious arguments, threats or physical aggression was 19.8%, 11.8% and 12.0%, respectively. Someone in the incident had been drinking in 38.1% of serious arguments, 56.5% of threats and 67.9% of incidents of physical aggression. When gender, age, education, marital status and employment status were controlled for, high quantity drinking (as measured by the largest number of drinks consumed on one drinking occasion in the past year), overall estimated annual volume of alcohol consumed, and frequency of consuming five drinks per occasion were significantly greater for physical aggression, compared with arguments and no aggression. However, drinker status (abstainer/drinker) and frequency of drinking were not significantly associated with involvement in aggression. In a logistic regression analysis controlling for demographic variables, a composite measure of alcohol consumption was highly significant for physical aggression versus no aggression and for physical versus verbal aggression. Physical aggression was also associated with being younger, separated/ divorced and a student.


The results suggest that alcohol intoxication, rather than mere alcohol consumption, is associated with aggression. Moreover, alcohol intoxication is more strongly associated with physical aggression than with verbal aggression.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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