For couples living in socially disorganized neighborhoods, alcohol outlets can act with neighborhood conditions to increase their risks for intimate partner violence (IPV). This may happen by two mechanisms: greater numbers of alcohol outlets within a neighborhood may (1) be a sign of loosened normative constraints against violence and (2) promote problem alcohol use among at-risk couples. The first mechanism suggests that the presence of alcohol outlets, in the context of disorganized neighborhood conditions, may signal to residents that the mechanisms of informal social control are not working, making them less likely to intervene if others engage in IPV, or making them less constrained in their own behavior toward their spouse/partner. The second mechanism suggests that exposure to alcohol outlets, along with other noxious neighborhood conditions, may lead to heavier drinking, thereafter increasing IPV risk. The overall goal of this study is to gain a deeper understanding of how environmental factors, such as alcohol outlet density and neighborhood social disorganization, along with individual- and couple-level characteristics, increase risk for IPV. Using a multi-methods approach, including geo-statistical analyses of archival (i.e., Census and alcohol outlet) data from 50 California cities with populations between 50,000 and 500,000, and multilevel analysis of survey data from 2,000 married/cohabiting couples, our specific aims are to: 1. Estimate the prevalence of self-reported IPV and problem drinking among married/cohabiting couples in relation to alcohol outlet density (and type) and aggregate neighborhood social disorganization. 2. Investigate constituent couple characteristics (i.e., low collective efficacy, community nonintervention norms, and psychological distress) that mediate relationships between neighborhood social disorganization and self-reported IPV, and determine if alcohol outlet density (and type) affects these relationships. 3. Determine if greater availability of alcohol (i.e., alcohol outlet density) is associated with patterns of venue use associated with heavier drinking that affects increased self-reported IPV, and if neighborhood social disorganization affects these associations. 4. Determine if the relationships between other important couple- and individual-level risk factors for IPV (e.g., non-white race/ethnicity, younger age, lower household socioeconomic status) are differentially affected by level of neighborhood social disorganization. By linking individual/couple factors, such as drinking behavior, to environmental factors, this study will help to illuminate the interrelationships between individual and place in the production of IPV. Understanding these mechanisms is of critical public health importance for developing environmental strategies aimed at prevention of IPV, such as changes in zoning, community action and education, and policing.
The overall goal of this study is to gain a deeper understanding of how environmental factors, such as alcohol outlet density and neighborhood social disorganization, interact with individual- and couple-level characteristics to increase risk for intimate partner violence (IPV). By linking individual/couples factors, such as drinking behavior, to environmental factors, this study will help to illuminate the interrelationships between individual and place in the production of IPV. Understanding these mechanisms is of critical public health importance for developing environmental strategies aimed at IPV prevention, such as changes in zoning, community action and education, and policing.
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