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J Interpers Violence. 2012 Jul;27(11):2108-27. doi: 10.1177/0886260511432151. Epub 2012 Jan 18.

Associations between expectancies of alcohol and drug use, severity of partner violence, and posttraumatic stress among women.

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Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, CT, USA.


Women who experience recurrent intimate partner violence (IPV) may use alcohol or drugs because they expect that these substances will help them cope with the negative physical and psychological sequelae of IPV. However, expectancies for alcohol and drug use have not been explored among this population of women. We used the Relaxation and Tension-Reduction Scale, Arousal and Aggression Scale, and Social Assertion Scale of the Alcohol Expectancy Questionnaire and modified its items to assess both alcohol and drug expectancies of 212 community-based, IPV-exposed women. Results of bivariate correlations showed that greater alcohol and drug expectancies were significantly correlated with greater alcohol problems and greater posttraumatic stress total and symptom severity scores. Results of a multivariate regression model showed that after controlling for demographic characteristics and history of childhood trauma, Relaxation and Tension- Reduction expectancies were associated with number of days of alcohol use, alcohol problems, physical and sexual IPV severity scores, and posttraumatic stress total and reexperiencing symptom severity scores. Expectancies do not significantly moderate the relationships between IPV, posttraumatic stress, and problematic alcohol and drug use. Given the strong relationships of expectancies with IPV severity, posttraumatic stress, and alcohol problems, expectancies may serve as targets for interventions to reduce alcohol use and problems and improve health-related outcomes in IPV-exposed women.

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