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Drinking and spousal abuse by male US Army soldiers

to be victims of IPV. Furthermore, women who are themselves heavy drinkers are also more likely to be victims of IPV, though it is not always clear whether their heavy drinking preceded the abuse event or is adopted as a way to cope with an unpleasant home life."

"One of the unique things about this study is that it's able to link data from difference sources," added Gordon Smith, an associate public health professor at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. "This study was able to measure baseline alcohol consumption of a group of soldiers, and then follow them over time to see if there's an increased risk of them being a perpetrator of spousal abuse. Most studies take more of a cross sectional approach, interviewing people who have already been accused of spousal abuse, and then looking at their drinking. Self reports of alcohol consumption at the time of the abuse event are likely unreliable; it's an emotional time, and some people may over or under report their alcohol consumption we really don't know."

For this study, participants comprised all active-duty, male, enlisted Army spousal abusers identified in the Army's Central Registry (ACR) who had also completed an Army Health Risk Appraisal Survey (HRA) between the years of 1991 and 1998 (n=9,534). Their data were compared with that of 21,786 "controls" who were matched on gender, rank, marital status and had also completed an HRA.

"We chose to focus on Army soldiers primarily because we have extensive data available to study them both before and after the abuse event," said Bell. "We were able to examine the stability of the relationship between drinking and perpetration of spousal abuse over a relatively long follow-up time. Furthermore, unlike some other studies of perpetrators that have examined populations with criminal backgrounds or those in treatment programs, this study population is relatively high functioning in that they're fully employed, have full access
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14-Dec-2004


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