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Drinking Context and Intimate Partner Violence: Evidence From the California Community Health Study of Couples

Carol B. Cunradi, Christina Mair, Michael Todd, Lillian Remer

Objective: Couples in which one or both partners is a heavy or problem drinker are at elevated risk for intimate partner violence (IPV), yet little is known about the extent to which each partner's drinking in different contexts (volume consumed per setting in bars, parties, at home, or in public places) increases the likelihood that partner aggression will occur. This study examined associations between the volume consumed in different settings by each partner and the occurrence and frequency of IPV. Method: We obtained a geographic sample of married or cohabiting couples residing in 50 medium to large California cities. Cross-sectional survey data were collected via confidential telephone interviews (60% response rate). Logistic and negative binomial regression analyses were based on 1,585 couples who provided information about past-12-month IPV, drinking contexts (number of times attended, proportion of drinking occasions when attended, average number of drinks), frequency of intoxication, and psychosocial and demographic factors. Drinking context–IPV associations for each partner were adjusted for the other partner's volume for that context and other covariates. Results: Male partner's volume per setting for bars and parks or public places was associated with the occurrence and frequency of male-to-female IPV and female-to-male IPV. Male's volume per setting for quiet evening at home was associated with the occurrence of female-to-male IPV; female partner's volume for this setting was associated with the frequency of male-to-female IPV and female-to-male IPV. Conclusions: Among couples in the general population, each partner's drinking in certain contexts is an independent risk factor for the occurrence and frequency of partner aggression. (J. Stud. Alcohol Drugs, 73, 731–739, 2012)