Bar characteristics, women's behavior in bars tied to their risk for bar-related aggression

BUFFALO, N.Y. -- Environmental characteristics of bars, as well as women's behavior in bars, influence their risk for bar-related aggression, according to a study conducted by researchers in the University at Buffalo's Research Institute on Addictions (RIA). The study showed that heavy drinking, going to and leaving a bar with individuals not well-known to the women and talking to a greater number of individuals while in the bar environment are social behaviors associated with bar-related aggression. The competitive activity of playing pool and illegal activities involving drug sales or prostitution in a bar were identified as increasing the risk of severe physical aggression.

Results of the study were published in the December 2003 issue of the Journal of Interpersonal Violence.

While emphasizing that "women are not to blame for their victimization," Amy M. Buddie, Ph.D., first author on the study, noted that "women who tend to frequent certain kinds of bars and engage in certain kinds of behavior while at these bars are more likely to experience bar-related aggression." A former postdoctoral fellow with RIA, Buddie is an assistant professor in the Psychology Department at Kennesaw State University in Georgia. Her co-author on the study was Kathleen A. Parks, Ph.D., RIA senior scientist.

Studies have shown that women are most likely to experience aggression from strangers in bars and from people they know in their homes. Parks said the study's findings are consistent with previous research that found certain bar characteristics to be associated with aggression. The results, she added, "hopefully will aid in the development of future education and prevention efforts."

The study included 198 women with an average age of 29 who were considered at relatively high-risk and drank in bars at least once a month. They reported drinking an average of six drinks on a typical night at their usual bar.

The majority of the volunteer subjects report

Contact: Kathleen Weaver
University at Buffalo

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