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Drinking and spousal abuse by male US Army soldiers

  • Domestic violence is a significant and preventable cause of injury to women.
  • Soldiers who drink heavily are more likely to abuse their spouses both when they are, and when they are not, drinking alcohol.
  • Heavy drinking is also associated with subsequent episodes of spouse abuse even when drinking habits are measured years prior to the event.

Domestic violence is a significant and preventable cause of injury to women. The majority of cases involve violence perpetrated by a male partner, and heavy drinking has also been implicated as a risk factor. A study in the December issue of Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research looks at alcohol consumption and perpetration of spousal abuse by male U.S. Army soldiers. Findings indicate that soldiers who drink heavily are more likely to abuse their spouses both when they are and when they are not drinking alcohol; heavy drinking is also associated with subsequent episodes of spouse abuse even when drinking habits are measured years prior to the event.

"Women are not only more likely than men to be victims of abuse at some point in their lifetime, but women are also more likely to sustain serious injury than are male victims of abuse," said Nicole S. Bell, first author of the study and a vice-president at Social Sectors Development Strategies, Incorporated. "However, it is important to note that married men and women are about equally likely to initiate physical abuse against each other. In fact, male victims of abuse may find it more difficult than female victims to come forward to report their experience due to social stigmatization or shame."

Bell added that heavy drinking is clearly a risk factor for intimate partner violence (IPV). "Men who drink heavily are more likely to abuse their partners both when they are drinking and when they are not drinking than men who are light drinkers. Put another way, women who live with heavy drinkers are more likely
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14-Dec-2004


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