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Interrelationships between Victimization Experiences and Women's Alcohol Use:

Brenda A. Miller, William R. Downs, Maria Testa

The interrelationships between experiences of childhood victimization and the development of women's alcohol-related problems are explored. Two different forms of childhood victimization are examined: (1) parent-to-child violence and (2) childhood sexual abuse (familial and nonfamilial). Data were collected from 472 women between the ages of 18 and 45 during in-depth interviews. Women were grouped to allow for the following two sets of comparisons: comparison 1: alcoholics in alcoholism treatment (n = 98), drinking drivers (n = 100) and a household sample (without alcohol problems) (n = 82); comparison 2: women with alcohol problems in treatment (n = 178), women without alcohol problems in treatment (n = 92) and a household sample (n = 82). High rates of childhood victimization for women with alcohol problems suggest that there is a link between victimization and the development, specifically, of women's alcohol problems. The strength of the interrelationships between childhood victimization and the development of women's alcohol problems when holding the treatment condition constant is of particular interest in this study. The rates of childhood victimization were significantly greater for women with alcohol problems in treatment as compared to women without alcohol problems in treatment. Thus, even when holding the treatment condition and family background variables constant, childhood victimization has a specific connection to the development of women's alcohol problems. These findings remained significant even when controlling for demographic and family background differences, including parental alcohol problems (J. Stud. Alcohol, Supplement No. 11: 109-117, 1993)