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Drinking and spousal abuse by male US Army soldiers

to healthcare, and hold a wide range of different occupations within the Army such as truck drivers, cooks, infantry soldiers, flight crew, and mechanics. Finally, the sheer size of this study population allowed us to explore variations in risk for abuse in different race and age subgroups."

The results showed that those classified as the heaviest drinkers (22 or more drinks per week) were 66 percent more likely to abuse their spouses than those classified as abstainers. In addition, self-reported moderate (8 to 14 drinks per week) and heavy drinkers (15 to 21 drinks per week) were three times as likely, and light drinkers (1 to 7 drinks per week) were twice as likely, as soldiers who report they typically consume less than one drink per week, to be drinking during the time of the abuse event.

"In short, we found that the enlisted, married, male Army soldiers who drink heavily are more likely to abuse their spouses both when they are and when they are not drinking alcohol," said Bell.

Researchers also found that heavy drinking is associated with subsequent episodes of spousal abuse even when drinking habits are measured years prior to the event. "The link between self-reported typical drinking habits and increased risk for spousal abuse appears to be stable even over long periods of time," said Bell. "That is, soldiers who report drinking heavily who are then followed for several years are still, years later, at greater risk for spousal-abuse events, particularly those involving alcohol during the event, but also those not involving alcohol."

Bell added that the study's findings have several implications. "First, it might be wise to evaluate soldiers identified as heavy drinkers during routine health screening tests for interpersonal violence," she said. "Likewise, soldiers identified as spouse-abuse perpetrators or victims should be carefully screened for alcohol abuse. Second, alcohol use is related to increased risk for s
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14-Dec-2004


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