This project proposes to provide epidemiological information concerning the incidence of alcohol-related marital violence and to investigate prospectively the impact of frequent heavy drinking, alcohol expectancies, hostility, and marital conflict on marital violence among newly married couples 18-26 years old. Review of the literature identified a number of conceptual- methodological problems including the dearth of general population as opposed to clinical samples, the lack of clear criteria concerning alcohol use and abuse, the failure to collect drinking pattern data, the assumption of a uniform relationship between alcohol and marital violence for all stages of marriage, the absence or noncomparability of control groups, and the atheoretical perspective taken by many studies. Two thousand men 18-26 years old and in their first 2 months of marriage will be identified through marriage license applications and interviewed with respect to sociodemographic factors and drinking habits. Of these, 400 couples were the husband is a frequent heavy drinker and 400 where he is not will be asked to participate in an extensive data collection procedure. The data to be collected will include: (1) drinking, drinking problems, alcohol expectancies; (2) hostility; and (3) marital conflict. Couples will be reassessed 1 year later to determine the presence or absence of marital violence, other aspects of marital conflict, and strategies used to cope with conflict situations. Among couples who have engaged in marital violence, information concerning the situational and contextual aspects of the violent incidents will be collected. Incidence of marital violence and of alcohol-related marital violence will be calculated, and the distribution of such violence will be described. Logistic regression is used to examine the following hypotheses: the incidence of marital violence is higher among frequent heavy drinkers than among non-FHDs; frequent heavy drinkers and their wives who have alcohol expectancies supportive of marital violence will evidence higher rates of marital violence than those who do not have such expectancies; alcohol expectancies among non-FHD husbands and their wives will be unrelated to marital violence; frequent heavy drinking, alcohol expectancies, and instigatory elements will intereact to produce the highest rate of violence. Frequent heavy drinking will also exhibit an indirect relationship with marital violence through its association with marital conflict and hostility.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA)
Research Project (R01)
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Alcohol Psychosocial Research Review Committee (ALCP)
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Research Institute on Alcoholism
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Testa, Maria; Quigley, Brian M; Leonard, Kenneth E (2003) Does alcohol make a difference? Within-participants comparison of incidents of partner violence. J Interpers Violence 18:735-43
Leonard, K E; Das Eiden, R (1999) Husband's and wife's drinking: unilateral or bilateral influences among newlyweds in a general population sample. J Stud Alcohol Suppl 13:130-8
Leonard, K E; Senchak, M (1996) Prospective prediction of husband marital aggression within newlywed couples. J Abnorm Psychol 105:369-80
Leonard, K E; Senchak, M (1993) Alcohol and premarital aggression among newlywed couples. J Stud Alcohol Suppl 11:96-108