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Contributions of Work Stressors, Alcohol, and Normative Beliefs to Partner Violence

Genevieve M. Ames, Carol B. Cunradi, Michael Duke, Michael Todd, Meng-Jinn Chen

Objective: A body of research has established that lower socioeconomic populations, including blue-collar workers, are at higher risk for problem drinking and intimate partner violence. This study of married/cohabiting construction workers and their spouses/partners describes how work stressors, hazardous drinking, and couple characteristics interact to influence normative beliefs around partner violence and, thereafter, its occurrence. Method: Our survey respondents from a sample of 502 dual-earner couples were asked about drinking patterns, past-year partner violence, normative beliefs about partner violence, work-related stressors, impulsivity, and childhood exposure to violence and other adverse events. We conducted semi-structured qualitative interviews with 81 workers on context of work stress, partner violence, and drinking. Results: Analyses of data revealed that men's and women's normative beliefs about partner violence were positively related to male-to-female partner violence; female partner violence normative beliefs were associated with female-to-male partner violence. Both partners' levels of impulsivity were directly associated with male-to-female and female-to-male partner violence, and male partner's frequency of intoxication mediated the association between level of impulsivity and male-to-female partner violence. Female partner's adverse childhood experience was directly associated with male-to-female partner violence. Both survey and qualitative interviews identified individual and work-related factors that influence the occurrence of violence between men and women. Discussion: These findings provide guidelines for prevention of partner violence that can be implemented in the workplace with attention to hazardous drinking, job stress, treatment, education, and work culture. (J. Stud. Alcohol Drugs, 74, 195204, 2013)