Intimate partner violence (IPV) is a serious national health concern that occurs with alarming frequency, inflicts both physical and psychological harm to victims, and costs billions of dollars per year due to healthcare costs and loss of productivity. These harmful consequences underscore the need for an in-depth understanding of the etiological factors that contribute to IPV perpetration. Attempts to identify risk factors fr IPV perpetration have focused mostly on individual demographic and dispositional characteristics (e.g., low socioeconomic status, psychopathy). While this work provides invaluable information, studies of broad risk factors are limited in their ability to identify the specific circumstances that may prompt an individual to perpetrate violence against a partner. The present study addresses this issue by examining two important situational variables-alcohol intoxication and neurocognitive processing during anger arousal-that may play important roles in predicting IPV. Drawing on the Alcohol Myopia Model (AMM;Steele &Josephs, 1990), the present study utilizes an experimental approach to test the impact of acute alcohol intoxication on partner aggression. The current study also extends prior work by examining attentional deficits in neurocognitive processing, which has been independently linked to IPV, as a possible mediator of the association between alcohol use and partner aggression. This integrative model will be examined in a community sample of individuals with and without histories of IPV perpetration. In addition to an experimental design involving lab- based alcohol administration, the project incorporates an assessment of neurocognitive processing using cutting-edge event related potential (ERP) technology as well as a well-validated paradigm for eliciting aggressive verbalizations in the context of romantic relationships. Knowledge gained from this study will inform the identification of individuals at risk for IPV perpetration, and yield important findings with direct implications for the development of intervention and prevention strategies.
Intimate partner violence (IPV) is a significant public health problem, which inflicts both physical and psychological harm to victims and costs the U.S. billions of dollars per year due to healthcare costs and loss of productivity. Research examining etiological risk factors that contribute to IPV perpetration is needed in order to expand basic knowledge and to inform the development of intervention and prevention strategies. The current project will examine two such risk factors for IPV perpetration, alcohol intoxication and neurocognitive processing during anger arousal.