Journal of Family Violence

, Volume 19, Issue 4, pp 249–253 | Cite as

Alcohol and Violence Related Cognitive Risk Factors Associated with the Perpetration of Intimate Partner Violence

  • Craig A. Field
  • Raul Caetano
  • Scott Nelson


The primary aim of this study is to determine the association between alcohol, violence related cognitive risk factors, and impulsivity with the perpetration of partner violence among current drinkers. A probability sample (n = 1468) of White, Black, and Hispanic couples 18 years of age or older in the United States household population was interviewed in 1995 with a response rate of 85%. The risk factors of interest included the alcohol and violence related cognitions of approval of marital aggression, alcohol as an excuse for misbehavior, and aggressive expectations following alcohol consumption as well as impulsivity. In all, 15% (216/1468) of the respondents reported perpetration of domestic violence. In addition, 24% (7/29) of those who approved of marital violence, 11% (126/1163) of those who reported alcohol use as an excuse for misbehavior, 10% (128/1257) of those who reported aggressive expectations following alcohol consumption, and 14% (99/716) of those who reported impulsivity also reported perpetration of domestic violence. Bivariate analysis indicated that all of the cognitive risk factors were significantly more common in those who reported perpetration of intimate partner violence (IPV) (p < 0.05). However, multivariate analysis controlling for ethnicity, education, income, age, gender, and impulsivity indicated that those who reported strong or very strong expectations of aggressive behavior following alcohol consumption were 3.2 (95% CI = 1.3–7.9) times more likely to perpetrate IPV. Although all of the alcohol and violence related cognitive risk factors were associated with the perpetration of domestic violence, expectations of aggressive behavior following alcohol consumption appeared to be the strongest predictor of the perpetration of IPV among current drinkers. Therefore, alcohol expectancy may be an important factor to assess when attempting to identify and treat perpetrators of domestic violence who are also current drinkers.

intimate partner violence alcohol cognition attitudes impulsivity ethnicity national survey 


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Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 2004

Authors and Affiliations

  • Craig A. Field
    • 1
  • Raul Caetano
    • 1
  • Scott Nelson
    • 2
  1. 1.School of Public HealthUniversity of TexasHouston
  2. 2.UT Southwestern Medical Center at DallasDallas

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