According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, alcohol plays a large role in abusive relationships among teenagers.
In fact, more than 60 percent of sexual assaults involve alcohol—and one in four teenagers will experience sexual or nonsexual abuse by the time they finish college or turn 21.
Definition and Background The Futures Without Violence Association (FWV) defines intimate partner violence (IPV) as “A pattern of assaultive and coercive behaviors that may include inflicted physical injury, psychological abuse, sexual assault, progressive social isolation, stalking, deprivation, intimidation and threats. The National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey (NISVS): 2010 Summary Report. Interventions to prevent intimate partner violence.
These behaviors are perpetuated by someone who is, was, or wishes to be involved in an intimate or dating relationship with an adult or adolescent, and one aimed at establishing control by one partner over the other.” Substance abuse has been found to co-occur in 40-60% of IPV incidents across various studies. Atlanta, GA: National Center for Injury Prevention and Control, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Spousal abuse has been identified as a predictor of developing a substance abuse problem and/or addiction.
Additionally, women in abusive relationships have often reported being coerced into using alcohol and/or drugs by their partners.
From those survey results, 842 male and female patients reported alcohol misuse, of which nearly 1 in 4 reported past-year dating violence, defined as being either a victim or perpetrator of physical acts such as throwing something, slapping, pulling hair, pushing, shoving, kicking, hitting or punching. The study, funded by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, analyzed individual factors such as: The study found positive peer influences are associated with reduced dating violence.
In a study funded by the National Institutes of Health and an Injury Center grant, Quyen and five other authors from the center analyzed data from the Flint Youth Injury Study, in which 575 participants aged 14 to 24 reported both the use of sedatives and opioids as well as instances of violent conflict over a 12-month period.
Substance abuse and high-risk alcohol use/abuse are more prevalent among women who experience IPV compared to a cohort with no IPV experience.
In a study of prenatal patients in North Carolina, victims of violence were significantly more likely to use multiple substances before and during pregnancy than those who had no experience of IPV (American Journal of Public Health).
Understanding some of the theories that have been advanced to explain the substance-violence relationship can, however, help advocates design interventions that can increase women’s safety and help men choose non-violence.
Most importantly, domestic violence and substance abuse should be understood and treated as independent problems: “[T]he reduction of one problem to the familiar language and interventions of the other problem is ill-advised.” At the same time, because the relationship between substance abuse and domestic violence is complex, institutions that address these problems together must be capable of managing their complexity.