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Psychol Addict Behav. 2014 Mar;28(1):127-38. doi: 10.1037/a0032988. Epub 2013 Dec 16.

A daily process examination of the temporal association between alcohol use and verbal and physical aggression in community couples.

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Research Institute on Addictions, State University of New York, University at Buffalo.


Alcohol use has been associated with intimate partner aggression perpetration and victimization; however, much of the evidence is based on survey research. Few studies have addressed the proximal effects of drinking episodes on the subsequent occurrence of partner aggression. The current study used daily diary methodology to consider the daily and temporal association between drinking episodes and episodes of partner verbal and physical aggression among a community sample of married and cohabiting couples (N = 118). Male and female partners each provided 56 days of independent daily reports of drinking and partner conflict episodes, including verbal and physical aggression, using interactive voice response technology. Dyadic data analyses, guided by the actor-partner interdependence model, were conducted using hierarchical generalized linear modeling with multivariate outcomes. Daily analyses revealed that alcohol consumption was associated with perpetration of verbal and physical aggression the same day, but not with victimization. Temporal analyses revealed that the likelihood of perpetrating verbal and physical aggression, and the likelihood of being verbally and physically victimized, increased significantly when alcohol was consumed in the previous four hours. Findings did not differ according to gender of perpetrator or victim, and the interaction between perpetrator and victim's alcohol use was not significant in any analysis. The study provides clear evidence that, within a sample of community couples without substance-use disorders or other psychopathology, alcohol consumption by men and women contributes to the occurrence of partner aggression episodes.

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