Risk Factors for Alcohol-Fueled Intimate Partner Violence Among Military

Members of the military face numerous challenges that the average civilian does not. Enlisted men and women must endure rigorous work schedules, dangerous situations, adjustment to military life, and sometimes long periods of separation. Add to that additional stresses for returning veterans, financial strain due to low pay, and the struggles of raising small children and you have the potential for a highly tense environment. Intimate partner violence (IPV) occurs at about the same rate among military personnel as it does among civilians. However, the rates of alcohol consumption are quite higher for members of the armed forces. Because alcohol can increase aggressive behavior, Heather M. Foran of the Institute of Psychology at the University of Braunschweig in Germany wanted to find out what other factors increased the level of IPV among military personnel under the influence of alcohol.

Foran conducted a study that looked at the contributing factors for women and men separately by examining more than 8,000 military women and men. She assessed several moderators, including developmental, family, and community variables. Foran found that for men, low levels of marital satisfaction and parental satisfaction directly increased the alcohol/IPV relationship. She also discovered that the younger men with low incomes were at risk for IPV perpetration. The final factor that increased the chance of IPV among military men who used alcohol was feeling unsafe within their communities. When Foran looked at the women, she found no significant influence for any of these factors on the IPV/alcohol use relationship, even though many of the women she surveyed had reported committing IPV in the past.

The findings from this study suggest that military personnel who are under the influence of alcohol and stressors, including financial strain and community dissatisfaction, may need little additional motivation to cross the line into IPV. For these men, an argument with a spouse or child can be the straw that breaks the camel’s back. The implications of this research suggest the need for treatments that focus on relationship-improvement strategies, especially among men early in their careers with small children, low pay grades, and less age-related maturity. “Hence, addressing hazardous alcohol use as part of an IPV prevention program may be most effective among younger men at earlier developmental life stages,” Foran said.

Foran, Heather M., Richard E. Heyman, Amy M. Smith Slep, and Jeffrey D. Snarr. Hazardous alcohol use and intimate partner violence in the military: Understanding protective factors. Psychology of Addictive Behaviors 26.3 (2012): 471-83. Print.

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  • Daniel


    October 29th, 2012 at 11:18 PM

    Because alcohol combined with even minor prompts could lead to violence in the armed forces personnel,it is necessary to try and keep a check on those prompts.But serving in the armed forces automatically means those prompts are at an elevated level for the personnel.This the solution seems to be a cut in alcohol intake.Now I know these personnel are more prone to consumption but when was the Last time your worries went away by consuming it??

  • steph


    October 30th, 2012 at 3:53 AM

    It seems that members of the military are consistently at risk for issues like intimate partner violence, violence against society in general, alccoholism, and all sorts of other social concerns that I would personally never want to have to face nor would I want to think that I had friends or family members also struglling with this.

    You would have thought that since there is such a history of this with members of the military there would have been a lot more effective intervention by now to help to control some of this.

  • adler


    October 30th, 2012 at 4:14 AM

    as a former user,I can tell you alcohol is never good for anything whatsoever.it can exacerbate already problematic issues.intimate partner violence?check.violent rage?check.getting into conflict with random people over trivial issues?check.

    and this needs no further proof,just look around you and you will see just how bad alcohol can be.and yet people try to drown their problems in alcohol when in fact they are drowning themselves.I have woken up,have you?

  • DES


    October 30th, 2012 at 1:36 PM

    Are there any good intervention programs that the military is implementing to help solve some of these alcohol fueled issues that so often come up in these families?

  • Evan


    October 31st, 2012 at 12:24 AM

    Who doesn’t have problems? Agreed that those in the military would have more that many of us don’t but add alcohol To the mix an it just goes haywire,serving the military or not!

  • Tiara


    October 31st, 2012 at 2:53 PM

    PTSD,increased drug and alcohol problems are things that are affecting so many vets and others.And all areas of their lives are touched by the same. While alcohol consumption is hard to bring down to zero for many people,it’s reduction can lead to a drop in violence from partners.

  • Julia


    October 31st, 2012 at 3:44 PM

    I really sometimes feel like military families are forgotten about.

    You think that we are so strong, but really we have our struggles just like anyone else does. And yes for some of us that means battling alcohol and addiction just like you do.

    wWhat makes it so hard on so many of our families is the amount of time that many of us have to be away from one another and then the lack of payment and compensation for that time that we miss with our spouses and our families.

    There is so much pressure to this lifestyle, and I know that it is what we chose, but it would be nice to know that we have to support out there for us in the same ways that other families do who are experiencing this same thing.

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