The original project was designed as a one-year prospective study of alcohol and marital aggression. A supplemental grant was awarded to initiate the three-year follow-up with the initial subjects recruited into the study. This competing continuation proposes to complete the three-year follow-up of approximately 630 couples. The overall aims of the study are to provide epidemiologic information concerning the rates of marital aggression and alcohol-related marital aggression over the first three years of marriage and to examine the role of alcohol within a social learning model of marital aggression. The research approach involves screening couples applying for a marriage license and recruiting them to participate in a prospective study. Participants are assessed with respect to the following domains: (1) alcohol consumption patterns, alcohol problems, and alcohol expectancies; (2) personality factors, including hostility, masculinity, and femininity; (3) relationship functioning variables, including evaluation of the partner, descriptions of partner conflict behavior, and intimacy. Couples are reassessed at the end of their first year of marriage with respect to the above variables and participate in a structured interview assessing different aspects of conflict behavior in their relationship, including verbal and physical aggression. At the end of their third year of marriage, these questionnaires and interviews are readministered. The specific goals of the three-year follow-up involve (1) the determination of the incidence, prevalence, and severity of marital aggression and alcohol-related marital aggression; (2) the assessment of stability and change in marital aggression and alcohol- related aggression; (3) testing a model of the interrelationships among alcohol use, marital conflict, and marital aggression as the marriage progresses and as the couple enters a different family status; and (4) an examination of the differential impact of alcohol-related versus sober marital aggression on marital conflict.
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