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Trauma Violence Abuse. 2017 Jan;18(1):37-50. Epub 2015 Aug 20.

Association Between Substance Use and the Perpetration of Family Violence in Industrialized Countries: A Systematic Review.

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IVO Addiction Research Institute, Rotterdam, the Netherlands.
Erasmus University Medical Center, Rotterdam, the Netherlands.
IVO Addiction Research Institute, Rotterdam, the Netherlands
Department of Health Promotion, Maastricht University, Maastricht, the Netherlands.


This review examines the association between alcohol and illicit drug use and the perpetration of intimate partner violence (IPV) and child maltreatment (CM). In clinical populations, alcohol use is related to IPV, although other variables are also known to influence this relationship. Studies in specialized social/health care and in the community have also demonstrated the association between alcohol use and IPV. Although data on the association between illicit drug use and IPV are less clear, in most studies perpetration seems related to the use of cannabis and cocaine. The occurrence of CM is related to alcohol use in specialized social/health care and community populations but has not been extensively investigated in clinical samples. These findings also apply to studies on the association between illicit drug use and CM. Moreover, many studies on CM fail to distinguish between the effects of alcohol and those of illicit drugs. This review concludes with recommendations for future research about substance use and family violence and discusses implications for prevention and treatment.


alcohol; child maltreatment; domestic violence; family violence; illicit drugs; illicit substances; intimate partner violence; substance use

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