Intimate partner violence (IPV) is strongly associated with several factors including, but not limited to, substance abuse, childhood maltreatment, socioeconomic disadvantage, sensation seeking, and risk taking. The negative outcomes of IPV victimization cover a constellation of adverse conditions such as physical injury, sexually transmitted disease, and HIV/AIDS, psychological distress, impaired mental health, and chronic pain. In Russia, the rates of IPV perpetration and victimization have been studied extensively. However, to date no study has compared the rates of IPV perpetration and victimization in the presence and absence of alcohol use.
To find out if IPV occurs more frequently when alcohol use is present, Weihai Zhan of the Center for Interdisciplinary Research on AIDS at the Yale School of Public Health in Connecticut recently analyzed data from a survey of 299 Russian women receiving treatment for sexually transmitted diseases in Russia. Zhan found that 37.8% reported being victims of IPV while almost as many; nearly 35% reported perpetrating IPV. Of the perpetrators, 47% reported that they had been using alcohol or drugs prior to the IPV. Of the victims, more than half reported being under the influence when the IPV occurred.
Other factors Zhan evaluated were age of first sexual experience, childhood abuse, and sensation seeking. Although these all increased likelihood of IPV, having a history of childhood abuse was the only factor that was directly influential of IPV perpetration without the presence of alcohol. Both physical and emotional abuse were considered and proven to be risk factors for future IPV perpetration in the absence of alcohol.
Zhan said, “Despite the strong association between substance use and IPV, experience of childhood abuse is an important predictor of IPV perpetration and victimization in Russia, above and beyond substance use.” These results underscore the importance of preventing child abuse and treating victims of physical and emotional abuse at the earliest time possible to minimize the risk of future perpetration and victimization.
Zhan, W., Shaboltas, A.V., Skochilov, R.V., Krasnoselskikh, T.V., Abdala, N. (2013). History of childhood abuse, sensation seeking, and intimate partner violence under/not under the influence of a substance: A cross-sectional study in Russia. PLoS ONE 8(7): e68027. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0068027
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