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The Role of Alcohol in Physical Assault Perpetration and Victimization
Kathryn D. Scott, John Schafer, Thomas K. Greenfield
Objective: This study examines the influence of lifetime alcohol use and drinking-in-the-event on the risk of physical assault perpetration and victimization while controlling for the effects of additional demographic and personality characteristics known to be associated with violence or alcohol use. Method: Secondary analyses were performed on data collected for the 1990 National Alcohol Survey, which included in-person interviews with 2,058 adults (58% female) residing within the 48 contiguous United States. Results: Approximately 11.5% of the sample reported having committed a physical assault, and 16.6% of the respondents reported having been the victim of a physical assault, since the age of 12 years. Gender, age, education, lifetime drinking history and an interaction between age and impulsivity were associated with physical assault perpetration. Marital status, impulsivity, and lifetime drinking history were associated with physical assault victimization. Analyses performed on the subsample of individuals reporting a physical assault indicated that drinking-in-the-event by both the perpetrator and victim was associated with men's, and not women's, experiences. Conclusions: The results support a strong and stable relationship between alcohol use and physical assault. Previous findings regarding men and alcohol-related aggression are supported, but the results contradict past conclusions pertaining to alcohol and women's victimization. (J. Stud. Alcohol 60: 528-536, 1999)